Technological impact of Space Weather

WP1710 will investigate two different phenomena related to SW events, able to significantly affect technological infrastructures: i) Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs) and ii) Loss of Lock (LoL) events.

GICs, due to the onset of sharp geoelectric fields, can lead, in the worst case, to transformers damage up to the complete shutdown of the electrical power grid. LoLs are due to ionospheric irregularities and can affect the performance of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Indeed, when an LoL occurs a GNSS receiver can no longer track the signal sent by satellite, with possible degradation of positioning accuracy.

Concerning GICs, this WP will take advantage of the availability of worldwide ground measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field to provide an estimation of GIC intensity through a proxy, i.e. the GIC index, for a number of selected events. The risk level related to GICs will be also calculated (for Italy only). Concerning LoLs, this WP will provide maps of their global occurrence as identified through total electron content (TEC) measurements made by GPS receivers onboard ESA’ Swarm satellites. LoL occurrence will be represented for both selected events and on a climatological basis. A Python tool for downloading Swarm TEC data, computing and mapping LoL occurrences, will also be developed.

Climatological representation of LoLs obtained from 4-year observations made onboard Swarm A.