loading page

Forecasting the Remaining Duration of an Ongoing Solar Flare
  • Jeffrey W Reep,
  • Will T Barnes
Jeffrey W Reep
US Naval Research Laboratory

Corresponding Author:jeffrey.reep@nrl.navy.mil

Author Profile
Will T Barnes
National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate residing at US Naval Research Laboratory
Author Profile


The solar X-ray irradiance is significantly heightened during the course of a solar flare, which can cause radio blackouts due to ionization of the atoms in the ionosphere. As the duration of a solar flare is not related to the size of that flare, it is not directly clear how long those blackouts can persist. Using a random forest regression model trained on data taken from X-ray light curves, we have developed a direct forecasting method that predicts how long the event will remain above background levels. We test this on a large collection of flares observed with GOES-15, and show that it generally outperforms simple linear regression. This forecast is computationally light enough to be performed in real time, allowing for the prediction to be made during the course of a flare.