Testing and Validation of the Magnetospheric Specification Model

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

David E. Weeks, PhD


The Magnetospheric Specification Model (MSM) is a computer simulation which specifies energetic charged particle fluxes in the earth's magnetosphere. It is a first of its kind model. Earth's magnetosphere is of enormous size and complexity, and is the hostile operational arena for a wide variety of critical military hardware. Satellites are especially subject to environmental damage by peaks in energetic charged particle flux induced by solar wind dynamics. MSM receives ground based magnetometer data, solar wind data, and direct and modified in situ data as inputs. It then simulates the magnetohydrodynamics of particles and fields and computes the flux of particles between 2 and 10 Earth radii in the energy range 1 to 100 keV. Comparison of model flux output with in situ particle flux measurements yields an error estimate of the models simulation. Selective variation of input data quantifies model sensitivity to data availability. A study of model error as a function of time reveals a diurnal error peak, indicating a model weakness in a particular magnetic local time zone. Differentiation of error as a function of magnetometer indices reveals model accuracy sensitivity with respect to geomagnetic activity.

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