J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 10, 2020
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Published online||04 February 2020|
Using PC indices to predict violent GIC events threatening power grids
Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej 100, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 13 January 2020
The aim of the present contribution is to investigate the timing relations between enhancements in the Polar Cap (PC) indices and power grid disturbances related to geomagnetically induced currents (GIC). The polar cap indices, PCN (North) and PCS (South), are based on measurements of geomagnetic variations in the central polar caps. These variations are strongly related to the transpolar convection of plasma and magnetic fields driven by the solar wind. During cases of enhanced merging processes at the front of the magnetosphere and subsequent tailward convection of plasma and embedded magnetic fields, the magnetospheric tail configuration may accumulate excess energy, which upon release may cause violent substorm activity. Earlier reports have disclosed remarkably lengthy intervals, ranging up to several hours, of elevated PC index values preceding GIC-related power grid disruptions. The present investigation has shown that the delays of typically 3–4 h between increases in the PC indices and GIC-related power grid disturbances are related to displacements of the substorm processes responsible for strong GIC events to subauroral latitudes where vulnerable power grids reside. The results have shown that PC index values remaining above an “alert level” of 10 mV/m through more than 1 h indicate a high risk for violent GIC events that may threaten power grids and other vulnerable technical systems. These results support the application of real-time PC indices in space weather monitoring and forecast services.
Key words: Space Weather / polar ionosphere / magnetosphere / solar wind
© P. Stauning, Published by EDP Sciences 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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