Geomagnetic effects

WP1330 focuses on using remote observations of the magnetosphere through ground-based geomagnetic field measurements to investigate several aspects of Space Weather. Therefore, the primary purpose will be to manage and process observations from networks of stations, making them homogeneous and available to the scientific community. In addition to this, the package will use these data for two main objectives: to study the effects on the plasmasphere and the ground and predict some geomagnetic indices.

The plasmasphere is an intermediate region between the ionosphere and the outermost parts of the magnetosphere. It, therefore, plays an essential role in diffusing, energizing and interacting with the plasma in it through various mechanisms. We use a monitoring system based on geomagnetic field measurements recorded by a specially designed network of observatories (European quasi-Meridional Magnetometer Array – EMMA), obtaining radial profiles of the plasma mass density at the equator.

An example of equatorial plasmaspheric mass density maps at different radial distances during a geomagnetically quiet period (left) and during a geomagnetic storm (right), when a drop in density is evident, resulting in the emptying of the plasmaspheric region and a subsequent reconfiguration of the surrounding spaces.

Measurements made by stations located at particular latitudes are also used to derive geomagnetic indices that can be used to develop predictive warning models in case of potentially dangerous events for sensitive earth infrastructure. In particular, the Sym-H index is a proxy for geomagnetic field disturbances at low/medium latitudes, well suited to describe the dynamics of the geomagnetic field in such situations

The SYM-H index evolution during an observed geomagnetic storm: the plots show how different forecasting methods (columns) and the use of previous SYM-H estimates (upper row without, lower row with) can affect one-hour predictions.