The solar flares that are producing the predicted geomagnetic storms (1/8/2014 – 1/10/2014) have also produced a solar radiation storm at level S2. This solar radiation storm has temporarily taken the ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) satellite out of service. The data this satellite collects is one of the main inputs used for short term Kp prediction.
The data from ACE is used when estimating the short term Kp values – the ones you see in the sidebar. When this data is bad, there are two alternatives. First, the USAF reports the current Kp index every three hours. NLN will post the USAF current Kp value in the side bar when the short term Kp values are not dependable.
Second, the NOAA Ovation model predicts the near term 30-45 minute current Northern Hemisphere Aurora visibility. This model works well for Kp values under 7, but is not proven yet for higher Kp values. Here is the current Ovation model output for the northern hemisphere.
Hopefully if you came to this post because the ACE satellite is down, it will be back up soon!