University of Oulu

Kärhä, O., Tanskanen, E.I. & Vanhamäki, H. Large regional variability in geomagnetic storm effects in the auroral zone. Sci Rep 13, 18888 (2023).

Large regional variability in geomagnetic storm effects in the auroral zone

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Author: Kärhä, Otto1; Tanskanen, Eija I.1,2; Vanhamäki, Heikki3
Organizations: 1Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Tähteläntie, 99600, Sodankylä, Finland
2Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, Aalto University, Maarintie, 02150, Espoo, Finland
3Space Physics and Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran Katu, 90570, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-06


A digital society is fragile and vulnerable to space-originated electromagnetic disturbances. Global geomagnetic conditions have been actively monitored since the invention of the magnetometer in 1833. However, regional changes in the magnetic environment have been widely left unstudied because of the sparsity of the observing networks. The Scandinavian Magnetometer Array (SMA) was the densest magnetometer network in history, and it was in operation in Fennoscandia during the International Magnetospheric Study (IMS) in 1976–1979. The data has been left mainly unstudied because it was recorded on 35 mm films, which are difficult to use for scientific studies. We used the DigiMAG digitization method to digitize magnetic data from all 32 SMA stations for a geomagnetic storm on 10–12 December 1977. Using these digitized values and modern magnetic data, we found large regional differences about up to 2 nT/km during strong geomagnetic storms (Dst 100–200 nT) and 7 nT/km for major scale Halloween geomagnetic storm, which correspond to 400 and 1400 nT difference for a typical 200 km station separation, respectively. The average size of substorms is 400 nT in the auroral zone. We conclude that the sparse magnetometer network can cause an underestimation of the regional magnetic disturbances and their effects. Misestimation of regional disturbances during extreme storms like the Carrington event may lead to insufficient planning of mitigation procedures and strategies.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 13
Article number: 18888
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-46352-0
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: We acknowledge the financial support by the Academy of Finland of the SOLSTICE (project 324161), Earth-Space Research Ecosystem E2S (project no. 336719 and 337663), Vilho, Yrjö and Kalle Väisälä Foundation of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, and ReSoLVE Center of Excellence (project no. 272157 and 307411), and Auroral Joule (project 354521).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 324161
Detailed Information: 324161 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
337663 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
272157 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
307411 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
354521 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
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