An inner boundary condition for solar wind models based on coronal density

Kaine A. Bunting*, Huw Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)
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Accurate forecasting of the solar wind has grown in importance as society becomes increasingly dependent on technology susceptible to space weather events. This work describes an inner boundary condition for ambient solar wind models based on tomography maps of the coronal plasma density gained from coronagraph observations, providing a novel alternative to magnetic extrapolations. The tomographical density maps provide a direct constraint of the coronal structure at heliocentric distances of 4 8 R, thus avoiding the need to model the complex non-radial lower corona. An empirical inverse relationship converts densities to solar wind velocities, which are used as an inner boundary condition by the Heliospheric Upwind Extrapolation (HUXt) model to give ambient solar wind velocity at Earth. The dynamic time warping (DTW) algorithm is used to quantify the agreement between tomography/HUXt output and in situ data. An exhaustive search method is then used to adjust the lower boundary velocity range in order to optimise the model. Early results show up to a 32% decrease in mean absolute error between the modelled and observed solar wind velocities compared to the coupled MAS/HUXt model. The use of density maps gained from tomography as an inner boundary constraint is thus a valid alternative to coronal magnetic models and offers a significant advancement in the field, given the availability of routine space-based coronagraph observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Space Weather and Space Climate
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2022


  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: CMEs
  • Sun: solar wind
  • SUN


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