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Ground effects of severe space weather events
The Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Start Time: 9 Mar 2018 - 10:30
End Time: 9 Mar 2018 - 15:30

A RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting organised by *Ciaran Beggan (BGS); Jim Wild (Lancaster); Mark Gibbs (Met Office)



As a society, the UK is reliant on continuously available electricity supplies and technology such as instantaneous satellite data and communications in order to function safely and efficiently. For example, systems such as transportation networks are increasingly automated and the computer networks which run them require accurate real-time information from embedded electronic sensors and other peripheral data such as timing derived from GPS. However, this dependence increases the exposure to impacts on technology from so-called severe space weather events. Space weather is usually defined as the response of Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere to sudden rapid changes in the properties of the solar wind such as increases in speed, density and magnetic field strength.

These changes in the magnetosphere and ionosphere cause the magnetic field at the Earth's surface to vary rapidly giving rise to geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) which can flow through conductive grounded equipment, such as high-voltage transformers, affecting the reliability of electricity supplies. The additional energy input from the solar wind also changes the conductivity structure of the ionosphere and pushes the auroral oval equatorward. This affects the propagation of radio waves through the atmosphere delaying GPS signals and leading to spatial and temporal errors on the ground; HF communications to circumpolar aircraft may also be disrupted. As well as the impact on electricity grids, GICs also cause additional unwanted corrosion in pipelines and the potential for signalling or other faults to develop in rail networks.

We seek presentations on a broad topic of ground effect of space weather in the UK (but specifically excluding satellite or spacecraft effects), in particular to GIC in power networks, railways and pipelines and topics such as impacts on surveyors and others end users (e.g. airlines/port authorities) of precise GPS location and timing data.

This specialist discussion meeting, aimed at academic and industry researchers and relevant end users, will discuss the latest research in the UK on understanding and ameliorating these impacts in light of recent developments in the field.


Registration and abstract submission is on the web-form below, with a deadline of 12th February 2018.


To register, and add abstracts:



10:30-11:00 - Mike Hapgood, RAL Space
It’s not just satellites, bad space weather reaches the ground
11:00-11:30 - David Boteler, NR Canada
The North American Experience with Geomagnetic Effects on Ground Systems
11:30-11.45 - Alexis Ruffenach, EDF Energy UK
Space Weather Research Program focused on the Energy Sector in the UK
11:45-12:00 - Sean Blake, Trinity College Dublin
Modelling GICs in the Complete Irish HV Network
12:00-12:15 - Gemma Richardson, BGS
Evaluating the use of geomagnetic indices for categorizing geomagnetically induced currents 
12:15-12:30 - Mark Clilverd, BAS
Geomagnetically Induced Currents and Harmonic Distortion during 07-08 September 2017 
12:30-12:45 - Fiona Simpson, Southampton
Space Weather Impacts on Ground Structures (SWIGS): What can we learn from magnetotellurics?
12:45-13:00 - Joan Campanya, Trinity College Dublin
Modelling induced electric fields (IEF) in Ireland and UK for space weather applications
13:00 - Lunch
14:00-14:15 - Les McCormack, Atkins Global
Rail Resilience to Space Weather

14:15-14:30 - Neil Rogers, Lancaster
Space Weather Modelling for the High-latitude Aeronautical HF Radio Prediction Service (HARP)

14:30-14:45 - Alex Hands, Surrey
Single Event Effects in Ground level Infrastructure – introducing the NERC SEEGI project

14:45-15:00 - Prof Clive Dyer, Surrey
Extreme Atmospheric Radiation Environments - The Need for An Alert System & Scale 

15:00-15:15 - Ed Oughton, Cambridge
Testing Realistic Disaster Scenarios for Space Weather: Economic Impacts of Transmission Infrastructure Failure

15:15-15:30 - Discussion and Wrap Up



Rosie Hood, UCL
Correlations between Geomagnetic Disturbances and Field-Aligned Currents during the 22-29 July 2004 Storm Time Interval
Mike Hapgood, RAL Space
Simple scenarios for simulating severe space weather impacts on power grids
Alexander Dyer, Surrey
Zenith: A detector for Rapid-Response Ionising Atmospheric Radiation Measurements during Space Weather Events
Alan Thomson, BGS
SWIGS: A New UK Research Consortium to Study 'Space Weather Impacts on Ground-based Systems'
Malcolm Dunlop, RAL Space
Statistical correlation analysis of field-aligned currents measured by Swarm
Joe Eggington, Imperial College
Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling in Global MHD Simulations