EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Sensors as an Asset to Space Weather Monitoring Activities

Fraser Baird and Keith Ryden
Fraser Baird and Keith Ryden
  • Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, UK

Cosmic Ray Sensors (CRS) are used worldwide to measure soil moisture at intermediate scales, exploiting the neutrons produced in the air showers created by cosmic ray particles interacting with the atmosphere. Neutron Monitors also exploit these atmospheric neutrons, but they are shielded from local soil moisture variations so that information about the cosmic ray flux near Earth can be deduced from their observations. Neutron monitors remain the state of the art for observing variations in high-energy cosmic rays and are critically important to understanding ground-level enhancements of atmospheric radiation caused by high energy solar energetic particles.

This contribution explores how the UK CRS network (COSMOS-UK) can complement the neutron monitor network in monitoring these ground-level enhancements, as well as other space weather-driven variations in the ground-level neutron flux. Observations of such variations using COSMOS-UK are presented and discussed, and the sensitivity of COSMOS-UK to ground-level enhancements is also shown. Finally, the prospects and challenges of improving the space weather utility of CRS networks are discussed.

How to cite: Baird, F. and Ryden, K.: Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Sensors as an Asset to Space Weather Monitoring Activities, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17336,, 2023.