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Scientific aims of the team


Space Weather discipline aims, through the observation, monitoring, analysis and modeling, at understanding and predicting the state of the Sun, the interplanetary and planetary environment and the solar driven perturbations that affect them (from the COST724 action definition of the Space Weather term). Reviewing current scientific journals, one can find lots of studies about theoretical modeling of evolving coronal mass ejections (CMEs), solar activity observations, interplanetary magnetic topologies, or terrestrial disturbances measured by geomagnetic indices or by their imprints from the ionosphere and the thermosphere down to the troposphere. However, only a few papers relate some of the links which make up the chain from the Sun to the Earth. Moreover, when they do, they usually only relate events measured with different data sets, and just a selected number of papers provide a joint analysis of both (or several) datasets, contributing in that way to a significant advance in the understanding of the chain from the Sun to the terrestrial surface.

The next solar maximum should peak around year 2010. Solar activity cycle 24 is expected to be much higher than average with a maximum sunspot number of 160▒30 [Hathaway and Wilson, 2006]. Then, lots of geomagnetic disturbances are expected to take place soon in the terrestrial environment, and effects on technological systems in general could take place. On the other hand, several spacecrafts and terrestrial telescopes are gathering data with extraordinary resolution in space and time. Among these, the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) mission, launched in October 2006, with two identical observatories ľone ahead of Earth in its orbit, the other trailing behind- will follow the mass ejections from the solar corona to the L1 point with a unique side-viewing perspective.

Considering this extraordinary opportunity both, from the data coverage and from the importance of the events expected, the present proposal joins scientists with expertise in the different stages from the solar atmosphere to the terrestrial surface. The results obtained could allow us to advance in the task of forecasting geomagnetic storms. However, the primary goal of the present study is not dedicated to the technological point of view, but mainly to the scientific one. Then, the goal of the proposal is to integrate the different stages to accomplish the task of understanding the whole chain.