EGU22-8015, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Towards an improved proxy for geomagnetically induced currents (GICs)

Fernando Jorge Gutiérrez Pinheiro1,2, Marta Neres3,4, M. Alexandra Pais1,2, Joana Alves Ribeiro1,4, Rute Santos1,5, and João Cardoso5
Fernando Jorge Gutiérrez Pinheiro et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, CITEUC - University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • 2Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory of the University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
  • 3Portuguese Instituto for the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), Lisbon, Portugal
  • 4Instituto Dom Luiz - University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 5Department of Physics, LIBPhys-UC - University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

The irregular variation of geomagnetic activity caused by the solar wind interaction with the magnetosphere/ionosphere (space weather) occurs in wide temporal and amplitude ranges. Major geomagnetic storms can induce geoelectric fields in the Earth conducting layers (through the lithosphere and down to the mantle), which may, in turn, be responsible for generating geomagnetically induced currents (GICs). The vulnerability of grounded conducting infrastructures, particularly electrical power transmission systems, to GICs, makes it important to understand the relation between the varying geomagnetic field components and the generated GICs, as well as the role of the local conductivity, i.e., geology, on the inducing process. Looking for proxies that better translate this relation is an open matter of debate.

In this work, we present a comprehensive study of several possible candidates for GIC proxies. We use geomagnetic time series from the Portuguese mid-latitude Coimbra observatory (COI) to calculate geomagnetic indices considering different periods (whole-storm duration, 3-h, 1-h and 1-min), with different focuses on the field components or their derivatives, and discuss their advantages and limitations. We compare the computed indices with both GIC simulations of the Portuguese mainland high voltage power network (150, 220 and 400 kV) (Alves Ribeiro et al., 2021), and observations from a Hall effect sensor based system installed at a power transformer located in the vicinity of Coimbra. 
We then propose a better GIC proxy, an index obtained from geomagnetic field components filtered by convolution with a uniform conductivity Earth model filter (EGIC index), based on previous work by Marshall et al (2010,2011). We search for empirical parameters that may contain information on local conductivity effects and power network geometry.

This study is funded by national funds through FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P.), under the project MAG-GIC (PTDC/CTA-GEO/31744/2017). FCT is also acknowledged for support through projects UIDB/50019/2020-IDL, PTDC/CTA-GEF/1666/2020 (MN) and PTDC/CTA-GEO/031885/2017 (MN). CITEUC is funded by FCT (UIDB/00611/2020 and UIDP/00611/2020). We acknowledge the collaboration with REN (Redes Energéticas Nacionais).

Alves Ribeiro J., F.J. Pinheiro, M.A. Pais, 2021. First Estimations of Geomagnetically Induced Currents in the South of Portugal. Space Weather, 19(1)
Marshall R. A., C. L. Waters, M. D. Sciffer (2010). Spectral analysis of pipe‐to soil potentials with variations of the Earth’s magnetic field in the Australian region. Space Weather 8.5
Marshall, R. A., et al (2011). "A preliminary risk assessment of the Australian region power network to space weather." Space Weather 9.10

How to cite: Gutiérrez Pinheiro, F. J., Neres, M., Pais, M. A., Alves Ribeiro, J., Santos, R., and Cardoso, J.: Towards an improved proxy for geomagnetically induced currents (GICs), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8015,, 2022.

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