The Problem
Our Solution

Modern modeling tools are outdated and unrealistic

We rely on models to help us forecast dangerous space weather events - we need them to be accurate

Our current understanding of space weather relies on the outdated assumption that our northern and southern hemispheres are symmetrically affected during space weather events. In actuality, it affects each hemisphere asymmetrically, but modeling tools do not account for that reality.

There are many causes of interhemispheric asymmetries, but none of our models include more than a few. Without including all causes, scientists cannot fully understand nor predict the complicated, interconnected relationship between the magnetosphere, ionosphere, thermosphere, and Sun. It is a system level problem that requires a system-level approach.

The different research groups who study interhemispheric asymmetries use their own terminology and tools, creating an even greater disconnect in the collective understanding of this natural phenomena. This communication barrier impedes progress on our models and science.

Connect diverse communities to fill in the gaps of understanding

Cross-disciplinary collaboration leads to innovation and transformational change

We need to overcome the communication barriers between disparate communities studying interhemispheric asymmetries.

We believe that diversity of thought leads to generational leaps in understanding. By applying an open-science approach and welcoming all to participate, CUSIA is a force-multiplier enabling rapid advancements in the M-I-T field. Like the Rosetta Stone, the Capabilities Assessment Matrix (CAM) connects disparate corners of the heliophysics community to share ideas and map our current understanding and modeling capabilities of interhemispheric asymmetries.

By providing a space for diverse groups to collaborate, CUSIA mitigates preconceived notions of what model is best, what data set is most useful, or what analysis technique is the default. Through the CAM our team can quickly and confidently identify, prioritize, and pivot our efforts to address our most pressing scientific questions.


CUSIA builds a network of IA knowledge across geospace, develops new leaders and innovators, and cultivates opportunities to share transformative ideas.

Meet the CUSIA Team

Our multi-disciplinary team of experts bring diversity of thought, expertise, and people together to make transformational changes across the research community

At CUSIA we believe that when we provide opportunities for everyone to participate, transformative thoughts come together, we discover new science, and develop new leaders and innovators. We hope you will join our pioneering community. To view our full team directory, make an account by clicking the red button below.


Dr. Daniel Welling

Primary Investigator, UTA

Dr. Welling has an established career in magnetospheric physics and numerical model development. He was a core member of the team that transitioned the SWMF to operations and continues to lead several funded research projects. He is currently Co-PI of an 11-person, 5-partner institution NSF PREEVENTS team where he exercises the management and organizational skills required for CUSIA. He has led several science teams to produce timely deliverables, most recently for NASA CCMC’s International Forum on Space Weather Assessment.

Headshot of Dr. Ramon Lopez

Dr. Ramon Lopez

Primary Investigator, UTA

Dr. Lopez has considerable center experience as one of the Co-Directors of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling (CISM), as well as other administrative and community leadership experience. Dr. Lopez acts as the Section head for the educational and professional development activities of the center, drives team development, ensures the center is meeting deliverables, and develops assessable metrics for the project’s goals. Dr. Lopez is an expert in magnetospheric and ionospheric physics, with considerable experience with a wide range of ground-based and spacecraft observations as well as the LFM MHD code.

Dr. Alexa J. Halford

Deputy Project Manager, GSFC-6750

Following graduation from Augsburg University in Minneapolis MN Alexa Halford went on to receive a Masters in Astronomy and Planetary Sciences from University of Colorado at Boulder and a Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Newcastle Australia. Shortly after completing her Ph.D. work, Halford won a highly competitive “Visiting Young Scientist” fellowship from Dartmouth College. She then moved to the Aerospace Corporation and is now the Associate Lab Chief of the Ionosphere, Thermosphere, Mesosphere lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. At Goddard she works as the Heliophysics and Space Weather Goddard strategic lead for Artemis, the deputy PI for petitSat, and on several other committees/working groups associated with space weather.

Dr. Robert Strangeway

Observations Section Head, EPSS/UCLA

Dr. Strangeway has worked on the general topic of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling since the mid 1990’s with the launch of the Fast Auroral Snapshot Small Explorer. His work calibrating and analyzing magnetometer data has resulted in deep contributions to understanding of M-I coupling in publications [e.g., Strangeway, 2009; 2012] and widely-used heliophysics text books [Russell et al., 2016]. His experience with field-aligned current phenomenology, as well as his interest in the role of force balance in determining how field-aligned currents flow to the ionosphere is germane to the objective of the Asymmetry DRIVE Science Center. Dr. Strangeway’s experience with both the data and the underlying processes that cause asymmetric responses will be essential for furthering the scientific goals of CUSIA, where he will act as Section Head for the observations sub-team. He will also lead educational efforts at UCLA.

Headshot of Dr. Christine Gabrielse

Dr. Christine Gabrielse

Deputy Observations Section Head, Aerospace Corporation

Dr. Gabrielse has extensive experience in both ground-based and satellite observations with a heavy interest in magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. Her recent work includes using SuperDARN to understand the asymmetrical response of mesoscale flows in the ionosphere during summer and winter hemispheres. Her background has focused on studying mesoscale magnetosphere transients (e.g., injections, BBFs, dipolarizations) using THEMIS, Van Allen Probes, and MMS, along with their signatures in the ionosphere using all-sky-imagers, magnetometers, riometers, and SuperDARN. She contributes the analysis of these various data sources to the CUSIA team. Dr. Gabrielse has extensive experience in organizing workshop and conference sessions as a GEM Focus Group leader and AGU primary chair, which she leans on to help design CUSIA workshops.

Dr. Alex Glocer

Model Development Section Head, NASA GSFC

Dr. Glocer has been developing and studying coupled models of the space environment system for more than ten years. During that time he has developed a model of ion outflow, contributed to the development of ring current, radiation belt, and global magnetosphere models, and developed couplings in the Space Weather Modeling Framework integrating these disparate models together. He has recently been exploring hemispheric asymmetries as they relate to ion outflow and composition, and how those effects impact the ring current and reconnection. He will explore those effects in this project as well as contributing to studies of asymmetries associated with MI coupling. He will moreover support the use of the PWOM model and model couplings including PWOM-CIMI-BATSRUS for these efforts.

Dr. Qingyu Zhu

Dr. Qingyu Zhu

Deputy Modeling Section Lead, NCAR

Dr. Zhu is currently working at National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) where he focuses on improving high-latitude electrodynamic forcing specifications in general circulation models (GCMs). Dr. Zhu has contributed improvements to the electrodynamo solver in the Global Ionosphere and Thermosphere Model (GITM). He has also developed an empirical model, named for Auroral energy Spectrum and High-Latitude Electric field variability (ASHLEY), that can improve low-energy electron precipitation and electric field variability specifications in GCMs. Dr. Zhu helps the CUSIA team by utilizing more realistic high-latitude electrodynamical forcings (e.g., field-aligned currents) to drive GITM in order to investigate some interhemispheric asymmetry phenomena.

Jacinda Arden

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

A great and mighty ruler.

Diversity Snapshot

We are still near the beginning of our journey to become a more diverse and inclusive organization

This data represents a baseline — a point of reference from which we can hold ourselves accountable for our actions as we pursue our strategic goals to increase diversity and inclusion throughout CUSIA.

Race and Ethnicity


Black or African American

Hispanic or Latino


Two or more races


0 % Men
0 % Women


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