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NOAA Whole Atmosphere Model-Ionosphere Plasmasphere Electrodynamics (WAM-IPE) Forecast System (WFS)

climate meteorological solar weather


The coupled Whole Atmosphere Model-Ionosphere Plasmasphere Electrodynamics (WAM-IPE) Forecast System (WFS) is developed and maintained by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The WAM-IPE model provides a specification of ionosphere and thermosphere conditions with realtime nowcasts and forecasts up to two days in advance in response to solar, geomagnetic, and lower atmospheric forcing. The WAM is an extension of the Global Forecast System (GFS) with a spectral hydrostatic dynamical core utilizing an enthalpy thermodynamic variable to 150 vertical levels on a hybrid pressure-sigma grid, with a model top of approximately 3 x 10-7 Pa (typically 400-600km depending on levels of solar activity). Additional upper atmospheric physics and chemistry, including electrodynamics and plasma processes, are included. The IPE model provides the plasma component of the atmosphere. It is a time-dependent, global 3D model of the ionosphere and plasmasphere from 90 km to approximately 10,000 km. WAM fields of winds, temperature, and molecular and atomic atmospheric composition are coupled to IPE to enable the plasma to respond to changes driven by the neutral atmosphere.

The operational WAM-IPE is currently running in two different Concepts of Operation (CONOPS). The CONOPS1 runs four times daily (0, 6, 12, 18 UT), providing two-day forecasts. Observed solar wind parameters are used whenever observational values are available. Lower atmospheric data assimilation only carries out twice daily at 0 and 12 UT cycles to maintain the stability of the coupled model. As the model also provides a 2-day forecast when observed space weather drivers are unavailable, the forecasted 3-hour Kp and daily F10.7 issued by SWFO are ingested into the model and used to estimate solar wind parameters. The CONOPS2 ingests real-time solar wind parameters every 5 minutes to support a nowcast system in order to capture rapid changes in the ionosphere and thermosphere due to the sudden onset of geomagnetic storms. The nowcast will be reinitialized every six hours to include the latest forcing from the lower atmosphere.

The operational data files provided in this bucket include NetCDF files containing 3-dimensional gridded neutral density from 100 to 1000 km, Total Electron Content (TEC), and Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF).

Update Frequency

The update frequencies of the WAM-IPE dataset range from 5 minutes to 6 hours depending on the CONOPS.


Open Data. There are no restrictions on the use of this data.


Managed By

See all datasets managed by NOAA.


For any questions regarding WAM-IPE data, please contact Adam Kubaryk (
For data delivery or any general questions regarding the NOAA Open Data Dissemination (NODD) Program, email the NODD Team at
We also seek to identify case studies on how NOAA data is being used and will be featuring those stories in joint publications and in upcoming events. If you are interested in seeing your story highlighted, please share it with the NODD team by emailing

How to Cite

NOAA Whole Atmosphere Model-Ionosphere Plasmasphere Electrodynamics (WAM-IPE) Forecast System (WFS) was accessed on DATE from

Resources on AWS

  • Description
    NOAA WAM-IPE Products
    Resource type
    S3 Bucket
    Amazon Resource Name (ARN)
    AWS Region
    AWS CLI Access (No AWS account required)
    aws s3 ls --no-sign-request s3://noaa-nws-wam-ipe-pds/
    Browse Bucket
  • Description
    New data notifications for NOAA WAM-IPE Products, only Lambda and SQS protocols allowed
    Resource type
    SNS Topic
    Amazon Resource Name (ARN)
    AWS Region

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