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Real-time validation of the Dst Predictor model

February 28, 2015

The Dst Predictor model, which has been running real-time in the Space Weather Analysis and Forecast System (SWAFS), provides 1-hour and 4-hour forecasts of the Dst index. This is useful for awareness of impending geomagnetic activity, as well as driving other real-time models that use Dst as an input. In this report, we examine the performance of this forecast model in detail. When validating indices it should be noted that performance is only with respect to a reference index as they are derived quantities assumed to reflect a state of the magnetosphere that cannot be directly measured. In this case U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Definitive Dst is the reference index (Section 3). Whether or not the model better reflects the actual activity level is nearly impossible to discern and is outside the scope of this report. We evaluate the performance of the model by computing continuous predictant skill scores against USGS Definitive Dst values as “observations” (Section 4.2). The two sets of data are not well-correlated for both 1-hour and 4-hour forecasts. The Dst Predictor Prediction Efficiency for both the 1- and 4-hour forecasts suggests poor performance versus the climatological mean. However, the skill score against a nowcast persistence model is positive, suggesting value added by the Dst Predictor model. We further examine statistics for storm times (Section 4.3) with similar results: nowcast persistence performs worse than Dst Predictor.  Dst Predictor is superior to the nowcast persistence model for the metric used in this study. We recommend continued use of the DstPredictor model for 1-and4-hour Dst predictions along with active study of other Dst forecast models that do not rely on nowcast inputs (Section 6). The lack of certified requirements makes further recommendations difficult. A study of how the error in Dst translates to error in models and a better understanding of operational needs for magnetic storm warning are needed to determine such requirements. Nowcast persistence is often hard to beat for short term forecasts and specification and Dst Predictor clearly performs well against that standard (with 1-hour and 4-hour skill-scores of 0.233 and 0.485 respectively), although poor in absolute terms (with1-hourand4-hour prediction efficiencies of-64.6and-43.1, respectively).

Publication Year 2015
Title Real-time validation of the Dst Predictor model
Authors James P. McCollough, Shawn L. Young, E. Joshua Rigler, Hal A. Simpson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Air Force Research Laboratory Technical Report
Series Number AFRL-RV-PS-TR-2015-0073
Index ID 70196455
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center; National Geomagnetism Program