CAPS - ionops About CAPS
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CAPS (Communication Alert and Prediction System) provides up-to-the-minute current epoch and forecast global and regional communication conditions. Communication frequencies are affected by space weather, which changes dynamically and unexpectedly. Risks to communication systems and information transmittal can be reduced by accurate, operational space weather systems designed specifically for use in communication activities.
Space Environment Technologies
Space Environment Technologies provides advanced space weather products and services. Our core expertise is the accurate specification of solar spectral irradiance variations. We link that information with empirical, physics-based, and hybrid environmental, operational, and design models that require a solar energy input. We have a wealth of experience in the process of transitioning research models into operational systems. Along with our partners, we actively conduct research and develop applications to meet space environment user requirements by combining solar irradiances with research and operational models at a systems level. The result is improved space weather forecast products for the design, development, and operation of space and ground technological systems.
Space Environment Corporation
Space Environment Corporation is a small business committed to providing excellent products and services. We have expertise in space weather products for government and industry, applications for communications, navigation and surveillance, data assimilation, organization, and visualization.
Current Solar and Geomagnetic Conditions
Communication links on dayside low and mid-latitudes are affected by changes in the ionosphere. Changes are caused by daily background solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) flux variations as well as by few minute, short-term fluctuations in the X-rays caused by solar flares. Geomagnetic storms can also cause dramatic impacts at high latitudes. In addition to the global communication conditions, which use persistence and recurrence for prediction techniques, the most recent, current epoch, and forecast daily 10.7 cm solar radio flux (F10), the one minute Xray (W10), and 3-hour geomagnetic (ap) indices are shown in the upper left panel. The upper right panel shows the most recent 72-hours GOES 0.1-0.8 nm Xrays, including the corresponding NOAA R scale values that indicate the severity of radio blackout conditions. The current epoch is at the right side of the past 72-hour flare figure.
Current Global Communication Status
HF radio blackout conditions are determined from the TEC conditions. A scaling is applied such that very high TEC corresponds to complete blackout (red), high TEC is upper boundary Lowest Usable Frequency (LUF) and Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) (yellow), moderate TEC is average condition LUF-MUF (green), and low TEC is lower boundary LUF-MUF (blue). Solar soft X-ray and solar extreme ultraviolet flares will cause immediately enhanced TEC in low and mid latitudes. Geomagnetic storms will produce enhanced TEC at high latitudes. The forecast latency is <15 minutes. The update cadence is 2 minutes for web page, 5 minutes for flares, and 15 minutes for TEC. Forecasts are made using persistence for the 1-12 hour forecasts combined with Earth diurnal rotation. Recurrence is used with 24 and 72 hour forecasts, assuming the lowest average value for a particular ionospheric condition.
The total electron content (TEC) of the ionosphere is an indicator of the number of electrons that a radio signal must pass through. Maximum electron values are generally at the 200-300 km level and high TEC can indicate higher maximum altitudes with more densities (less HF propagation).
Regional Global Communication Status
Radio blackout conditions can affect multiple radio frequencies. HF (high frequency 3-30 MHz) is used for communications, direction-finding, as well as over-the-horizon radar; it is affected by solar flares and geomagnetic storms. VHF (very high frequency 30-300 MHz) is used for television, FM broadcasting, as well as aviation communication;it is affected by solar flares,meteor showers, geomagnetic storms, and line-of-sight obstacles. UHF (ultra high frequency 300-3000 MHz) is used for satellite communication, radar surveillance, as well as television; it is affected by line-of-sight obstacles. SHF (super high frequency 3-30 GHz) is used for satellite communication, radar, navigation, as well as television; it is affected by line-of-sight obstacles and tropospheric scatter.
NASA's Living With a Star program provided support for the solar flare evolution data component and visualization using the Google Earth platform.