Differential Magnetometer System in Support of Space Weather Impact


Martyn, T.P., Swan. A.P., Taylor, T.L.,

Turbitt, C.W.


Geological Survey, The Lyell Centre, Riccarton, Edinburgh EH14 4AP,

United Kingdom


The impact of

geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) caused by severe space weather

events on ground-based infrastructure is a well known phenomenon that,

in extreme cases, has led to significant disruption to power supplies

and technologies. To better understand the effect of large magnetic

storms in the United Kingdom, a consortium of UK space weather

research institutes have jointly secured funding under Natural

Environment Research Council-sponsored research grant NE/P017231/1.

The Space Weather Impact on Ground-based Systems (SWIGS) project

comprises four work packages directed towards improving understanding

and forecasting of GIC; from magnetospheric-ionospheric sources to the

impact on infrastructure such as power lines, pipelines and railways.

As part of WP2, looking at the solid earth response to magnetic

storms, the British Geological Survey (BGS) plans to deploy a number

of remote monitoring sites close to grounded nodes in the UK power

distribution network since the lack of readily available GIC data from

network operators presently limits the verification of GIC modellling

in the UK power grid. These sites should provide proxy measurements of

the induced currents in the adjacent high-voltage overhead lines.

The proposed monitor is based on a differential magnetic variometer

system deployed on the Southern African power grid in 2013 & 2015.

Here we describe the instruments, recorders, installation and

telemetry adopted by BGS to meet the project specification of

time-stamped, one-second samples transmitting in near real-time from a

set of six sites self-sufficient in power for up to six months. The

bandwidth of interest of the study is between 10 and 10,000 seconds

and the required resolution of signal is of the order of