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Magnetopause Challenge Introduction

Back in 2008, we started looking at global magnetosphere models in comparison with the Shue et al (1998) magnetopause model. At that time, two-hour intervals of successively stronger southward solar wind Bz were used to run the models SWMF, OpenGGCM, GUMICS and LFM.
The models were found to show magnetopause standoff distances that could vary by over one RE. It was concluded that the presence of a ring currenet increases the predicted magnetopause standoff. However, the inclusion of a ring current increases the standoff only by about 1/2 RE and thus does not account for the total difference (between the SWMF and OpenGGCM models). Other factore are inner (near-Earth) boundary conditions such as density, temperature and the position of the boundary itself, that vary between the models. A sensitivity study was started but yielded inconclusive results.
A summary of some of those efforts are included in L. Rastaetter's presentation at the 2015 GEM Summer Workshop.

GEM Workshop sessions:

More recently, the focus shifted from modeled conditions to real events when Magnetopause crossings were included as one observable parameter in the GEM magnetosphere modeling challenge.
Events included a day during the Halloween storm (2003/10/29 06:00-2003/10/30 06:00 UT) and 36 hours during the AGU storm (2006/12/14 12:00 -- 2016/12/16 00:00 UT), featuring multiple magnetopause crossings by GOES and LANL geosynchronous satellites.
Recent advances in data preparation and visualization of data-model comparison time series allow for event-based analysis of magnetopause crossings and the calculation of skill scores similar to the dBH/dt study that was completed in 2013 (see Rastaetter's presenation at the 2015 GEM workshop).
On this page we will post events that feature multi-spcaecraft magnetopause crossings that we may include in addition to the geosynchronous satellites that encountered the magnetopause during the above-mentioned challenge events (see presentation by Collado-Vega and Sibeck and by Rastaetter (additional slides), also presented during the 2015 GEM meeting).


Please send questions, comments and suggestions to

Last updated: June 19, 2015 by Lutz Rastaetter

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Air Force Materiel Command Air Force Office of Scientific Research Air Force Research Laboratory Air Force Weather Agency NOAA Space Environment Center National Science Foundation Office of Naval Research

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