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Sunspot cycles and the occurrence and intensity (using the Ap index) of geomagnetic storms (Kappenmann, 2010)

Sunspot cycles and the occurrence and intensity (using the Ap index) of geomagnetic storms (Kappenmann, 2010)

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Technical Report
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Strong geomagnetic disturbances resulting from solar activity can have a major impact on ground-based infrastructures, such as power grids, pipelines and railway systems. The high voltage transmission network is particularly affected as currents induced by geomagnetic storms, so-called GICs, can severely damage network equipment possibly leading to...

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... previous cycles 22 and 23 lasted from September 1986 to May 1996 and from May 1996 to December 2008 respectively. As shown in Figure 3, it appears that the geomagnetic activity is also cyclical, although it has to be stressed that a severe storm can occur at any time during a cycle, and not only around the peaks of sunspot activity. It should also be noted that not every solar event produces a GMD on Earth, which makes forecasting storms based on solar observation only very difficult. ...

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Citations

... In some countries, the transmission grids were less prone to these events (Krausmann et al. 2013). There were significant effects like transformer saturation, reactive power losses, harmonics, transformer heating, generator overheating and protection relay tripping due to space weather events in power systems (Piccinelli and Krausmann 2014). These events also could affect the economic value of power grids (Eastwood et al. 2018). ...
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Space weather is a phenomenon in which radioactivity and atomic particles is caused by emission from the Sun and stars. It is one of the extreme climate events that could potentially has short-term and long-term impacts on infrastructure. The effects of this phenomenon are a multi-fold process that include electronic system, equipment and component failures, short-term and long-term hazards and consequences to astronauts and aircraft crews, electrostatic charge variation of satellites, disruptions in telecommunications systems, navigational systems, power transmission failures and disturbances to the rail traffic and power grids. The critical infrastructures are becoming interdependent to each other and these infrastructures are vulnerable if one of them is affected due to space weather. Railway infrastructure could be affected by the extreme space weather events and long-term evolution due to direct and indirect effects on system components, such as track circuits, electronic components in-built in signalling systems or indirectly via interdependencies on power, communications, etc. While several space weather-related studies focus on power grids, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and aviation sectors, a little attention has focused towards probability of railway infrastructure disruptions. Nevertheless, disruptions due to space weather on signalling and train control systems has documented but other systems that railway infrastructure dependent upon are not very well studied. Due to the advancements in digitalization, cloud storage, Internet of Things (IoT), etc., that are embedded with electronic equipment are also possible to prone to these effects and it is even become more susceptible to the extreme space weather events. This paper gives a review of space weather effects on railways and other transportation systems and provide some of the mitigation measures to the infrastructure and societal point of view.
... Geoelectric fields in the solid Earth are induced by external geomagnetic field variations, often associated with geomagnetic storms, passing through a complex Earth filter that is determined by the conductivity structure of Earth's interior. These induced geoelectric fields give rise to anomalous quasi-static voltages across transmission lines that lead to so-called geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) within power transmission networks, which can cause operational interference and damage to critical infrastructure (e.g., Molinski, 2002;Piccinelli & Krausmann, 2014). One of the strongest geomagnetic storms to impact modern power transmission networks occurred in March 1989 when GICs caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid in Canada (e.g., Bolduc, 2002). ...
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A once‐per‐century geoelectric hazard map is created for the U.S. high‐voltage power grid. A statistical extrapolation from 31 years of magnetic field measurements is made by identifying 84 geomagnetic storms with the Kp and Dst indices. Data from 24 geomagnetic observatories, 1,079 magnetotelluric survey sites, and 17,258 transmission lines are utilized to perform a geoelectric hazard analysis with the most comprehensive data publicly available. With these data, we estimate once‐per‐century geoelectric fields at the magnetotelluric survey sites and calculate the theoretical voltages within transmission lines in the U.S. power grid. Once‐per‐century geoelectric field strengths span more than 3 orders of magnitude from a minimum of 0.02 V/km at a site in Idaho to a maximum of 27.2 V/km at a site in Maine, with nearly 30% of the surveyed land area exceeding 1 V/km. We show the influence that geoelectric field polarization has on geoelectric hazards when viewed on a power transmission network. The calculated transmission line voltages can approach 1,000 V in some transmission lines. Four regions in the United States with particularly notable geoelectric hazards are identified and discussed: the East Coast, Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest, and the Denver metropolitan area.
... Here, they ionize nuclei and the recombination radiation is visible as polar lights. The high particle flux of these low-energy cosmic rays can affect the functionality of satellites in the low Earth orbit and the international space station (Anderson et al., 2018) and extreme geomagnetic storms might cause disturbances of the power grid in the circumpolar regions (Piccinelli and Krausmann, 2014). ...
Thesis
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... At the end of this space weather chain, processes that lead to induction of currents in the ground can potentially impact infrastructure that are critical to society. These geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) flow along long conductor systems such as power grids and can affect or damage the power system (Albertson & Van Baelen, 1973;Boteler, 2013;Bolduc, 2002;Molinski, 2002;Piccinelli & Krausmann, 2014;Samuelsson, 2013;Wik et al., 2009). The strength of the currents that arise in the power lines are determined by the strength of the fluctuating geoelectric field and depends on three main factors: ...
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Geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) flowing in long conductors can pose a threat to critical infrastructure such as the power grid in cases of extreme geomagnetic activity. Geomagnetic activity is more pronounced at high latitudes; thus, Nordic countries, such as Sweden, can potentially be vulnerable to GIC. Previous studies have identified the southern region of Sweden as the most vulnerable to extreme space weather, but these studies have relied on 1-D models of the ground conductivity. Sweden, however, has large lateral variations in the underlying ground conductivity structure across the country. Thus, the understanding of the ground response to space weather events cannot be captured by 1-D models. In this paper, we utilize a 3-D crustal conductivity map with surrounding oceans to model the geoelectric ground response due to a uniform magnetic field. We show that southern Sweden is exposed to stronger electric fields due to a combined effect of a low crustal conductivity and the influence of the coast-land interface from both the east and the west coast. The model can further be used to calculate GICs in the Swedish power grid and has been validated by GIC measurements from a site in northern Sweden. The measured and predicted GIC amplitudes are in excellent agreement. The model can be used to quantitatively asses the hazard from space weather in Sweden. Upon further validation at additional sites it can be used as a powerful predictive tool of the response to extreme space weather events in the Swedish power network.
... Geomagnetic storms and the geoelectric fields that they induce in the Earth's conducting interior are hazards for high-voltage electric power grid systems (e.g., Molinski, 2002;Piccinelli & Krausmann, 2014;Samuelsson, 2013). A dramatic realization of these hazards came during the magnetic storm of 13 March 1989 (e.g., Allen et al., 1989) when induced geoelectric fields caused the collapse of the entire Hydro-Québec power grid system in Canada (Béland & Small, 2005;Bolduc, 2002) and caused operational stress in power grids in the United States (North American Electric Reliability Corporation, 1990[NERC], 1990. ...
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Maps of extreme value, horizontal component geoelectric field amplitude are constructed for the Pacific Northwest United States (and parts of neighboring Canada). Multidecade long geoelectric field time series are calculated by convolving Earth surface impedance tensors from 71 discrete magnetotelluric survey sites across the region with historical 1-min (2-min Nyquist) geomagnetic variation time series obtained from two nearby observatories. After fitting statistical models to 1-min geoelectric amplitudes realized during magnetic storms, extrapolations are made to estimate threshold amplitudes that are only exceeded, on average, once per century. One hundred-year geoelectric exceedance amplitudes range from 0.06 V/km at a survey site in western Washington State to 9.47 V/km at a site in southeast British Columbia; 100-year geoelectric exceedance amplitudes equal 7.10 V/km at a site north of Seattle and 2.28 V/km at a site north of Portland. Systematic and random errors are estimated to be less than 20%, much less than site-to-site differences in geoelectric amplitude that arise from site-to-site differences in surface impedance. Maps of 100-year exceedance amplitudes are compared with the peak geoelectric amplitudes realized during the March 1989 magnetic superstorm; it is noted that some storms of relatively modest intensity can generate localized geoelectric fields of relatively high amplitude. The geography of geoelectric hazard across the Pacific Northwest is closely related to known geologic and tectonic structures.
... Geomagnetic storms induce geoelectric fields within the electrically conducting interior of the Earth that produce voltages across grounded transmission lines. These voltages can lead to severe impacts on the transmission of electricity (Boteler, 2001;Molinski, 2002;Piccinelli & Krausmann, 2014;Samuelsson, 2013). A geomagnetic storm on 13 March 1989 caused a widespread blackout in Canada with the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power system (Bolduc, 2002) and caused numerous anomalies and faults within the United States (U.S.) power transmission network (North American Electric Reliability Corporation, 1990). ...
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Commonly, one-dimensional (1D) Earth impedances have been used to calculate the voltages induced across electric power transmission lines during geomagnetic storms under the assumption that much of the three-dimensional structure of the Earth gets smoothed when integrating along power transmission lines. We calculate the voltage across power transmission lines in the mid-Atlantic region with both regional 1D impedances and 64 empirical 3D impedances obtained from a magnetotelluric survey. The use of 3D impedances produces substantially more spatial variance in the calculated voltages, with the voltages being more than an order of magnitude different, both higher and lower, than the voltages calculated utilizing regional 1D impedances. During the March 1989 geomagnetic storm 62 transmission lines exceed 100 V when utilizing empirical 3D impedances, whereas 16 transmission lines exceed 100 V when utilizing regional 1D impedances. This demonstrates the importance of using realistic impedances to understand and quantify the impact that a geomagnetic storm has on power grids.
... This induction occurs all the time, during both magnetically calm and stormy conditions. During intense storms, induced geoelectric fields can drive quasi-direct currents in bulk electric-power grids of sufficient strength to interfere with their operation, sometimes even causing blackouts and damaging transformers (e.g., Boteler et al., 1998;Piccinelli and Krausmann, 2014). Notably, the magnetic storm of March 1989 (e.g., Allen et al., 1989) caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power-grid system in Canada, leaving 6 million people without electricity (Bolduc, 2002;Béland and Small, 2005). ...
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Despite its importance to a range of applied and fundamental studies, and obvious parallels to a robust network of magnetic-field observatories, long-term geoelectric field monitoring is rarely performed. The installation of a new geoelectric monitoring system at the Boulder magnetic observatory of the US Geological Survey is summarized. Data from the system are expected, among other things, to be used for testing and validating algorithms for mapping North American geoelectric fields. An example time series of recorded electric and magnetic fields during a modest magnetic storm is presented. Based on our experience, we additionally present operational aspects of a successful geoelectric field monitoring system.
... Geoelectric fields induced in the Earth's conducting interior during magnetic storms can interfere with the operation of electric power grids [e.g., Piccinelli and Krausmann, 2014]. For practical evaluation of geoelectric hazards, estimates of both the local surface impedance and geomagnetic activity are needed [e.g., Thomson et al., 2009;Love et al., 2014]. ...
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An examination is made of opportunities and challenges for enhancing global, real-time geomagnetic monitoring that would be beneficial for a variety of operational projects. This enhancement in geomagnetic monitoring can be attained by expanding the geographic distribution of magnetometer stations, improving the quality of magnetometer data, increasing acquisition sampling rates, increasing the promptness of data transmission, and facilitating access and use of the data. Progress will benefit from new partnerships to leverage existing capacities and harness multi-sector, cross-disciplinary, and international interests.
... Magnetic storms can induce geoelectric fields in the Earth's electrically conducting interior, interfering with the operation of electric power grids and pipelines [e.g., Albertson et al., 1993;Boteler, 2003;Samuelsson, 2013;Piccinelli and Krausmann, 2014]. The potential risks were dramatically demonstrated during the magnetic storm of March 1989 [e.g., Allen et al., 1989], which caused strong geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) to flow along the power lines, collapsing the entire Hydro-Québec electric power grid in Canada [Bolduc, 2002;Béland and Small, 2005], as well as causing severe damage to step-up transformers in Delaware Bay (see North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) [1990], for a compilation of effects). ...
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Geoelectric fields at the Earth's surface caused by magnetic storms constitute a hazard to the operation of electric-power grids and related infrastructure. The ability to estimate these geoelectric fields in close to real time and provide local predictions would better equip the industry to mitigate negative impacts on their operations. Here, we report progress towards this goal: development of robust algorithms that convolve a magnetic storm time series with a frequency domain impedance for a realistic three-dimensional (3D) Earth, to estimate the local, storm-time geoelectric field. Both frequency domain and time domain approaches are presented, and validated against storm-time geoelectric field data measured in Japan. The methods are then compared in the context of a real-time application.
... This induction occurs all the time, during both calm and stormy conditions. But during intense magnetic storms, induced geoelectric fields can drive quasi-direct currents in bulk electric-power grids of sufficient strength to interfere with their operation, sometimes causing blackouts and damaging transformers [e.g., Molinski, 2002;Thomson, 2007;Piccinelli and Krausmann, 2014]. Historically, the most dramatic realization of this natural hazard occurred in March 1989 [e.g., Allen et al., 1989], when an intense magnetic storm caused the collapse of the entire Hydro-Québec electric-power grid in Canada [Bolduc, 2002;Béland and Small, 2005]. ...
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In support of a multi-agency project for assessing induction hazards, we present maps of extreme-value geoelectric amplitudes over about half of the continental United States. These maps are constructed using a parameterization of induction: estimates of Earth-surface impedance, obtained at discrete geographic sites from magnetotelluric survey data, are convolved with latitude-dependent statistical maps of extreme-value geomagnetic activity, obtained from decades of magnetic observatory data. Geoelectric amplitudes are estimated for geomagnetic waveforms having 240-s sinusoidal period and amplitudes over 10 minutes that exceed a once-per-century threshold. As a result of the combination of geographic differences in geomagnetic activity and Earth-surface impedance, once-per-century geoelectric amplitudes span more than two orders of magnitude and are an intricate function of location. For north-south induction, once-per-century geoelectric amplitudes across large parts of the United States have a median value of 0.26 V/km; for east-west geomagnetic variation the median value is 0.23 V/km. At some locations, once-per-century geoelectric amplitues exceed 3 V/km.