Ground effects of severe space weather events
Royal Astronomical Society specialist discussion meeting

Date: March 9th 2018

Time: 10:30 - 15:30 GMT

Location: The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, LONDON, W1J 0BQ

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. However, this dependence increases the exposure to impacts 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.
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.

Organisers: Ciaran Beggan (
Jim Wild (
Mark Gibbs (
Meeting Fee: £15, £5 for students, free for RAS fellows, payable on arrival.

*Abstract submission is on the web-form is now closed.*

Registration can continue up until the date of the meeting.

Link to RAS:

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