“Space Weather” has been used to refer to the conditions on the Sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and thermosphere that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems or can endanger human life or health. Examples of the effects of space weather include:
Astronauts are vulnerable to energetic radiation
Disruption in GPS navigation systems
Massive disruptions in electric power distribution systems
A fundamental need of the National Space Weather Program is that of promoting the research to advance the understanding of the fundamental processes and analysis of space weather, and, the application of this understanding into physics-based first-principle models capable of predicting space weather.
CSEM is developing the capability with SWMF which will enable the implementation of a predictive, physics-based, high-performance space-weather model. This is being accomplished by utilizing and integrating the experience and expertise of a team from many disciplines and specialties. CSEM SWMF Site - http://csem.engin.umich.edu/tools/swmf/index.php.
In summary, SWMF itself is a framework to provide a common operating environment for the various modeling components included. Each of the components models particular aspects of space weather (sun, heliosphere, magnetosphere, etc) and the various commands allow you to control how those models run and interact with each other.