Sparkling Geomagnetic Field

Geomagnetic variations during the upcoming solar maximum: Causes and regional consequences

A solar maximum was expected to occur during 2013/2014. This lead to an increased amount of sun spots and solar eruptions. If solar storms hit the Earth, the protecting Earths magnetic field is compacted and magetic storms are evolving. Among the consequences of these magnetic storms are polar lights, breakdown of communication and failure of navigation systems. Strong magnetic storms can even damage power line networks and lead to extensive electrical power outage.

Beside direct observations of the sun and its radiation field, geomagnetic data is essential to characterize the temporal and spatial geo-effecitivity of solar storms.

In close collaboration with schools as well as national and international scientific partners, a regional network of magnetic measurement systems was established within the framework of this proposal. This magnetic network allowed us to analyze the spatial properties of magnetic storm onsets and substorms under exactly controlled measurement conditions. Together with data from our international partner it was possible to describe the longitudinal and latitudinal dependency of such storm events. It was then possible to investigate for the first time the possible regional consequences in Austria. Due to its actuality and the broad scientific content, this project was very well suited to introduce current science at scholar level. Setup of stations, maintenance, data analysis, visualization address all basic disciplines of natural science – math, information technology, natural science and technical aspects. Additional geological field work, with the aim to investigate paleomagnetic field variations, complemented the project and lead to a better understanding of the geological time scale within the physical processes of our planet.

This project has been completed.