SPACE WEATHER FORECAST
Scientists of the Geophysical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences have improved the “space weather” forecast and developed a method for obtaining more accurate data on magnetic and ionospheric disturbances, which are a common cause of disruption of radio transmission and navigation satellite systems. On this basis, it is possible to assess the impact of space weather factors on infrastructure facilities.
The term “space weather” came into common usage in the 1990s, as covering the most practically important aspects of the science of solar-terrestrial relations. The “Solar-terrestrial relations” scientific knowledge deals with the study of all possible interactions of helio- and geophysical phenomena. This science lies at the junction of solar physics, solar system and geophysics and studies the influence of solar variability and solar activity through the interplanetary medium on the Earth, in particular on the magnetosphere, ionosphere and atmosphere. In a strictly scientific sense, space weather refers to the dynamic (with characteristic times of a day or less) part of the solar-terrestrial relationship, and by analogy with terrestrial processes, the more stationary part is often called “space climate”. In a practical sense, the topics of space weather include, for example, issues of forecasting solar and geomagnetic activity, studies of the effects of solar factors on technical systems (radio interference, radiation conditions, etc.), effects on biological systems and people. A.L. Chizhevsky was one of the first to use the concept and phrase “space weather” in one of his publications in the beginning of the XX century. His report at the Biophysical Congress was the official recognition of a new scientific direction.
In March 1989, a strong magnetic storm caused the complete collapse of the Hydro-Québec electric-power grid in Canada, temporarily leaving nine million people without electricity. Magnetic and ionospheric disturbances are a common cause of disruption of radio transmission and navigation satellite systems. This leads to damage and premature deterioration of conductive structures, power cables, power lines, pipelines and railway equipment.
In 2020, fellows of the Geophysical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (GC RAS) have significantly improved the “space weather” forecast — they have developed a method for obtaining more accurate information about the Earth’s magnetic activity. The Geophysical Center RAS is a highly qualified team of international-class scientists, comprising 97 people. Among them, there are three members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 17 doctors and 26 candidates of sciences. About a third of fellows are younger than 39 years old. The main tasks of the GC RAS were the collection and analysis of data using modern network technologies and the creation of information resources on Earth sciences. The Geophysical Center has become the base organization for the National Geophysical Committee of the Russian Federation and the CODATA Russia National Committee. Internet-oriented up-to-date computer telecommunication system was deployed to connect with scientific institutes of many countries of the world. The most important area of work was the adaptation and development of information technologies in relation to geophysical research. Huge information resources on different areas of Earth sciences were created.
Since that time, the GC RAS has significantly expanded the range of scientific tasks to be solved. Such areas of research as space geodesy and altimetry, geodynamics, geoecology of nuclear fuel cycle facilities, information geophysics, etc. began to develop.
The Center’s scientific research is provided by a digital demonstration complex with a spherical screen, equipment for studying the geodynamics of the Earth’s crust, a mobile set of magnetic survey equipment at low and high latitudes, joint magnetic observatories with regional institutes, original software products protected by copyright certificates and licenses.
The main purpose of the GC RAS is to conduct fundamental scientific research and applied developments in geophysics, geoinformatics, and system analysis.
Data on geomagnetic disturbances is collected by satellite systems, as well as magnetic stations and observatories. Russian scientists have created and successfully tested a technique that makes it possible to obtain regional indicators of magnetic activity based on measurements at magnetic stations and observatories. On their basis it is possible to assess the impact of space weather factors on infrastructure facilities. Now, the creation of maps showing the degree of influence of geomagnetic activity in this or that region is underway.