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A Quick-Reference to the Solar Irradiance Platform

The Solar Irradiance Platform, formerly the SOLAR2000 irradiance specification tool, produces the variable, full solar spectrum in assorted spectral formats for historical, nowcast, and forecast applications. In addition, it produces an array of solar irradiance and thermospheric proxies for the benefit of specific user communities. User institutions of Solar Irradiance Platform products are typically U.S. Government agencies, LEO satellite operators, GEO communication satellite operators, GPS service providers, satellite manufacturers, insurance companies, commercial airlines, and space plane manufacturers.

Scroll down, or click on a topic heading to learn more about a specific Solar Irradiance Platform topic:

Downloading and Installing the Solar Irradiance Platform

Please review the following sections prior to starting to download the Solar Irradiance Platform:

LICENSE AGREEMENT PRODUCT BACKGROUND AND APPLICATIONS
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS
PUBLICATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (NOTICE TO RESEARCHERS) USER GUIDE
UPGRADES AND RELEASE NOTES (Milestones)  

1. Click Download Now to go directly to the SIP download site, or:

  • paste the following URL in your browser window:
    ftp://spcusr:usrspc@sol.spacenvironment.net/
  • or, use the following ftp commands in a terminal window or ftp application:
    ftp sol.spacenvironment.net
    The username is: spcusr, and the password is usrspc

Depending on local firewall or encryption configurations (it will appear that ftp fails to respond), it may be necessary to toggle the ftp passive mode by typing "epsv4" immediately after logging in.

3. Your browser or ftp application will display ftp directories, and which will contain a manual and several folders:

  • SIP_PG_v2_32 (free 30-day evaluation version)
  • SIP_SY_v2_32 (fee-based operations version)
  • ancillary_docs - these folders contain related publications to the Solar Irradiance Platform and former SOLAR2000 (both compressed and uncompressed versions); .

    Click one of the files, or use the ftp command "get" to begin the download, saving it to a directory of your choosing. Unzip the file on your computer and, if you wish, place the new SIP folder in the desired subdirectory or folder on your computer. See 'Decompression Instructions' below.

Decompression Instructions: After downloading the tar.Z file (binary format) with either a .zip extension for Windows or MacIntosh, or .tar.Z for Unix systems use these tips for decompressing the file into it's component files:

For Windows 98/NT:

a. Move to any folder/directory as a default (e.g., SIPrg) which will contain all the files that will be necessary to run SOLAR2000. You may need to create this folder: it will serve as the default IDL working directory to run SIP.

b. Open a Zip application, e.g., Aladdin StuffIt Expander. If you don't have a Zip file application, they are widely available on the Internet. c. Unzip the downloaded zip file. Depending on the application, this may be a two-step process. Note: Because of the wide variety of decompression applications, you will need to follow the instructions provided with the application.

d. All the necessary files should be should be created under an additional SIP subdirectory. You may want to rename or move this subdirectory with all it's files to another location of your choosing. Be certain you have full read/write/execute privileges to all the files.

e. Read the s2k_readme text file, which contains the license agreement and IDL SIP instructions for running the model.

For Unix:

a. Move to a directory above any directory as a default (e.g., SIP) that will contain all the files necessary to run SOLAR2000. You may need to create this folder: it will serve as the default IDL working directory to run SIP.

b Type uncompress file_name.tar.Z

c. Type tar -xvf ./file_name.tar (e.g., file_name.tar).

d. Read the s2k_readme text file, which contains the license agreement and IDL SIP instructions for running the model.

For MacIntosh:

a. Move to a directory above any directory as a default (e.g., SIP) that will contain all the files necessary to run SOLAR2000. You may need to create this folder: it will serve as the default IDL working directory to run SIP.

b. Open a Zip application (e.g., Aladdin StuffIt Expander(c). If you don't have a Zip file application, they are widely available on the Internet.

Note that many current PC operating systems will uppack the self-extracting archive *.sitx simply by double-clicking on it.

c. All the necessary files should be should be created under an additional SIP subdirectory. You may want to rename or move this subdirectory with all it's files to a more convenient location.

d. Read the s2k_readme text file, which contains the license agreement and IDL SIP instructions for running the model. See"s2k_v2_yy_readme" accompaning the distribution in your directory. Please note that you must register and use a license key to run SIP.

Now follow the IDL instructions for running SIP. See the "s2k_v2_yy_readme.txt" file accompaning the distribution in your directory.

Ordering Solar Irradiance Platform Products

To order the professional-grade Solar Irradiance Platform product, which provides a number of additional indices providing historical, nowcast, and forcast data, please use our secure Solar Irradiance Platform Online Form. You can use a credit card for immediate licensing, or print out an order form to mail, fax, or email to Space Environment Technologies.

Mail orders should be mailed to Space Environment Technologies, 1676 Pallisades Dr., Pacific Pallisades, CA 90272-2211, USA. Alternatively, a fax can be sent to SET at 310-454-9665 or an email to spacenvironment@spacenvironment.net.

The Solar Irradiance Platform spectrum

The Solar Irradiance Platform full solar spectrum provides 1 nm resolution from the X-rays to the far infrared wavelengths. Other formats include the aeronomy community's SC21REFW 0.1 nm format as well as the Torr and Torr 39 wavelength groups and lines. The daily time resolution is available historically back to February 14, 1947 and forecast out to 5 solar cycles. Around the time of the current epoch, hourly solar proxy values are produced and placed into one of eight 3-hour bins for each day from -48 to +72 hours. These time bins correspond to the ap geomagnetic index bins and the 5-day/3-hourly format is used for high time resolution space operations centered on the current epoch. As new upgrade versions of Solar Irradiance Platform are provided, there is improved accuracy and variability in different spectral regions.

Solar Irradiance Platform for Research

Research Grade

  • Solar Irradiance Platform daily historical irradiances are available to the research community for free through an IDL© GUI application. The Solar Irradiance Platform requires IDL© version 5.6 or higher for licensed IDL users. For users without an IDL license, the Solar Irradiance Platform model is also accessed by the IDL 6.0 virtual machine which can be freely downloaded from Research Systems, Inc (RSI©). For assistance installing and running Solar Irradiance Platform with IDL Virtual Machine (VM), please see the IDL VM guide. To download the Solar Irradiance Platform, visit our Download Page.

Solar Irradiance Platform for Engineering Applications

Professional Grade

  • The Solar Irradiance Platform provides a capability to forecast solar irradiances by using a client application that transparently retrieves the hourly updated Solar Irradiance Platform operational data files from Space Environment Technologies central server. Developed for engineering applications, it also is used in operational forecasts.

Solar Irradiance Platform for Operations

Operational Grade

  • Developed for real-time operations, the Operational Grade provides historical, nowcast, and forecast irradiances (including high time resolution) for operational customers. Data is provided via server access to SET's central server system at an hourly update cadence.

System Grade

  • Designed as an complete, independent turn-key system on the customer's own UNIX-based computer, the System Grade provides full in-house operational capability with a redundant data stream provided SET's central server. Operational performance is assured at the 99.99% confidence level.

Solar Irradiance Platform Applications

Solar Irradiance Platform full spectral irradiances and integrated irradiance proxies can be used for a wide variety of applications:

    • Historical databases of solar influence on the perturbed thermosphere and ionosphere
    • Post-event analysis for satellite anomalies and HF radio communications
    • LEO satellite mission planning activities
    • Orbit debris removal validation
    • Theater-of-operations capability assessments.

Other capabilities of the Solar Irradiance Platform model include:

  • Coupling with space physics models such as MSIS, IRI, or MET and with global, first principles thermospheric models as the solar driver to produce thermospheric and ionospheric parameters. Derived thermospheric mass densities can be input into long-term orbit predictors for estimating satellite lifetimes and orbit debris removal.
  • Solar Irradiance Platform, coupled with other space physics models, together provide insights into the phenomena of space weather.
  • Solar Irradiance Platform professional grade, operational grade, and system grade models have both nowcast and daily forecast capabilities. The latter two models also provide high time resolution along with the Ap/Kp geomagnetic parameters to provide a complete set of proxies typically used in thermospheric and ionospheric operational models.

Solar Irradiance Platform Model Grades, Versions, Upgrades

  • Regular and continuous upgrades to Solar Irradiance Platform are released. These upgrades include additional spectral range variability (FUV, UV, VIS, IR), enhanced accuracy with the inclusion of new datasets and improved proxy regression algorithms, improved specification of the uncertainty in the irradiances, the development of nowcast and forecast irradiances along with the historical representations, and the development of new integrated irradiance proxies for user communities. The convention for the model Grade designation is explained here:
  • RG - Research Grade provides daily historical to current epoch data through a platform-independent IDL GUI application;
  • PG - Professional Grade provides daily historical through current epoch to forecast data in addition to analysis tools through a platform-independent IDL application;
  • OP - Operational Grade provides daily historical, hourly nowcast, 72-hour (3-hour interval) forecast, and daily forecast data from the SET proprietary operational server; and
  • SY - System Grade provides historical, nowcast, forecast data in all time resolutions as a turn-key system on at a user-specified location.
  • When there is a change in the first version number, e.g., 1.yz to 2.yz, there has been a major change that extends the Solar Irradiance Platform wavelength range. When there is a change in the second digit, e.g., 1.1z to 1.2z, a dataset used to derive the model has been upgraded or added. When there has been a change in the third digit of the version number, e.g., 1.16 to 1.17, there has been a proxy, software, or functionality upgrade. Under some situations there are minor bug-fixes which append a letter to the version number, e.g., 1.15 to 1.15a.
  • Solar Irradiance Platform v1.yz is variable in the XUV/EUV part of the spectrum while v2.yz is variable in the XUV/EUV/FUV/UV. Upgrades in progress include v3.yz VIS/IR variability and v4.yz physics-based model variability. The versioning convention of x.yz for Solar Irradiance Platform upgrade releases is:
    • x: variability of the model’s spectral range
      • 1: empirical XUV/EUV (1–122 nm);
      • 2: empirical XUV–UV (1–420 nm);
      • 3: empirical XUV–IR (1–2000 nm);
      • 4: hybrid empirical and physics-based (1 – 1,000,000 nm);
    • y: data improvement
      • 0: original 12 rocket observations (AFGL f74113, sc21refw, f79050n, f79226, f79314; USC 82222, 83228, 88298, SERTS_96; LASP nov_1988, 1992, 1993, 1994), 1 reference spectrum (ASTM E-490), 4 satellite datasets (SOLRAD, AEE monochromators, YOHKOH/SXT, SOHO/CDS), and 3 theoretical spectra (Avrett);
      • 1: SOHO (SUMER, SEM, CDS accuracy in solar minimum short wavelengths);
      • 2: SNOE, TIMED (SEE) and SDO (EVE) (accuracy in all spectra <200);
      • 3: UARS, TIM, and SIM (UV, VIS, IR accuracy);
      • 4: ISS (SOL-ACES, SOLSPEC, TSI) (solar cycle upgrade to full spectrum);
      • 5: GOES EUV and POES UV/VIS data (minute time resolution); and
    • z: code improvement and bug fixes
      • 0-9: new features, algorithm, and code improvements;
      • a: minor bug fixes; and
      • b: internal beta test version.
  • The upgrades of Solar Irradiance Platform versions, e.g., Solar Irradiance Platform v1.24 to v2.22, are provided at no additional charge for subscribers. Whenever there is a change in the version number, the registered customers are notified by email and an announcement is placed at the main Space Environment Technologies web page (http://SpaceWx.com).