SpacE weather REsearch Network (SEREN) - securing UK space weather capabilities

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Antarctic Survey
Department Name: Science Programmes

Abstract

Space weather is a serious risk for the UK. The new National Risk Register, published in January 2012, provides formal recognition of this and notes more work is needed to understand and plan for the impacts of severe events. This message was echoed in the February 2012 report of the House of Commons Defence Committee on Developing Threats: Electro-Magnetic Pulses. This noted the need for more research to understand and mitigate the space weather impacts, especially on the National Grid.

The UK has a wide range of world-class expertise to understand and deal with the problems caused by space weather. However, this is spread over the universities, research institutes, industry and government labs. There are many informal links between people at working level in these groups, but no structure that can coordinate their efforts to maximise the benefit to the UK and to mutual benefit of the groups involved. This proposal seeks to do that. We will hold a series of events that bring together experts from the research and applications communities - first to discuss how to coordinate UK efforts in particular areas and then to build up a virtual UK Space Weather Centre. The particular areas of space weather interest will include impacts on power grids, aviation, satellite navigation, communications and the tracking and operation of spacecraft.

A key aim will be better links between the UK space weather research and applications communities, so that researchers are ever more aware of the many potential routes through which their research can have impact on real-world issues - and the applications community appreciates the scientific capabilities that exist in the UK and the links that the scientific community has with other experts around the world. Such links will help the UK to develop a strong research programme that helps to mitigate the problems caused by space weather and that enables researchers to seek funding for their work. The results of that programme will also enable the UK to work with international partners, especially the US and in Europe, to develop international measures that recognise and deal with the global threat from space weather. The UK can then contribute to international efforts at a level appropriate to its technical and financial capabilities whilst deriving benefit from the whole of those efforts.

Planned Impact

The over-arching aim of this project is to develop better links between research on space weather and the needs of industry and governmental groups that have to handle the adverse impacts of space weather - and thereby stimulate and promote research that will improve the ability of those groups to handle those impacts. Thus the beneficiaries include:

1. Commercial organisations that operate technological systems at risk from space weather. There is growing awareness that many business operations may be affected by space weather. Thus companies will benefit from stimulation of research that quantifies these effects and identifies where space weather knowledge can significantly improve business processes. Key beneficiaries for such impact are high-volume businesses where small improvements can have high financial return (e.g. power grids) and businesses with high-value products that need to be protected from adverse impacts (e.g. magnetic surveys).

2. Some of these commercial organisations operate critical national infrastructures such as the National Grid, the civil aviation system and satellite communication services. These need to be protected from severe space weather, as recognised in the 2012 National Risk Register. Thus the benefits of this project will be space weather support for (a) wider national activities that address the resilience of those infrastructures - and (b) UK participation in EU and international efforts to improve resilience of critical infrastructures. It will benefit government policy makers by stimulating the generation of new peer-reviewed scientific evidence that can guide policy decisions, e.g. better specification of extreme space weather conditions.

3. Many public sector activities are affected by space weather, e.g. communication, navigation and surveillance systems used by the military and security services. Both operators and policy-makers will benefit from this project through a better awareness of the limitations that space weather imposes on those systems and by encouraging research that can help users mitigate and manage those limitations.

4. The wider public will benefit from the more balanced reporting of space weather that we seek to promote. We already have examples of people being scared by current media hype - and reassured by good public engagement from space weather experts. We will continue that work and promote best practice in the reporting of space weather.

The benefits from this project will include both short-, medium- and long-term elements. In the short-term the major benefit will be increased awareness of space weather amongst beneficiaries and, perhaps, the adoption of better procedures for handling space weather problems, e.g. the proposed workshop will enable beneficiaries to know which scientists can provide timely advice when they encounter problems or wish to plan for future risks. The medium-term element will be the stimulation of research projects. The proposed workshops will enable researchers and beneficiaries to identify where new science can improve the understanding and mitigation of space weather problems. Thus an outcome of this project will be the submission of research proposals to study that new science, with some support (e.g. data and advice) from beneficiaries. We hope to see a good number of these proposals, with some funded and underway by the end of this project. The long-term benefit will the establishment of a UK space weather centre that will be a focus through which researchers and beneficiaries can come together to explore future space weather problems, e.g. arising through deployment of new technologies and services.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The most significant achievement of this STFC Futures Programme award was the bringing together of UK ground-based space weather experimenters to review the status, capabilities, and suitability of instruments in the UK research base for operational space weather services. The key findings were:
UK instruments contribute significantly to international networks on which emerging space weather services are being founded. Typically providing up to 15% of the global assets.
The instruments are supported based solely on their research value and there is currently no economic model to co-fund the instruments for their added value to space weather operations. Most of the instruments had no identified support beyond 2 years.
The instruments are capable of meeting space weather observing standards set out by the World Meteorological Organisation but additional investment is required to achieve this (e.g., adaption for dual research-and-operations purpose and near-real-time data transfer).
In summary, space weather service development is vulnerable to a reliance on ground-based instruments designed and supported for scientific research purposes rather than commercial need or public good. Some progress has been made on addressing this, as outlined below.
Exploitation Route An outcome has been the development of the Space Weather Operational Observing Network (SWOON) concept whose aim is to upgrade existing UK ground-based instruments in the Scandinavian, British and Atlantic sectors to standards necessary for supporting 24/7 space weather services. This was submitted, together with a contribution to a new EISCAT_3D radar, to the BIS Consultation on Proposals for Long-Term Capital Investment in Science & Research in 2014 and as a NERC capital bid. The BIS (now BEIS) bid was unsuccessful but NERC agreed a £6M capital investment in the £60M EISCAT_3D radar facility. The new radar will become operational in 2022 and is expected to provide fundamental scientific research relevant to the extension in altitude of the Met Office Unified Model to support its future space weather services. The Met Office provided a letter of Support to the EISCAT_3D bid.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

 
Description An international governing body for space weather
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact One of the questions raised at the SEREN workshops was the lack of an international governing body for space weather. The International Space Environment Service (ISES) would seem to be well-positioned to take on this role. Subsequent discussions suggest that ISES has this role in principle, but in practice it does not currently have the formal governance arrangements and structures in place to manage and develop global operational services. Thus the impact from SEREN is to encourage key UK players, in particular Met Office, to promote the development of ISES towards a practical role as the international governing body for space weather. This is paralleled by efforts to develop international governance of space weather activities via UN/COPUOS. The precise outcome is unclear but a good solution will benefit all at risk from space weather, the UK far from least in being exposed to that risk.
 
Description International coordination on space weather
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Discussions at SEREN events have helped to advance thinking on how scientific ideas can best be deployed to mitigate space weather risks and to communicate the risk to the general public. This has helped UK space weather experts to support inter-governmental workshops that seek to improve coordination between different countries, e.g. a UK-US workshop on power grid risks in Feb 2015 (also attended by experts from Canada and Ireland), also an EU-led work on rail system risks in Sep 2015 (participation from UK, Sweden, Spain, US, Austria, Canada). After a quiet period in 2016, there is now growing interest in this issue at both a European level (e.g. through actions by ESF and EU/DG-GROW) and a global level (e.g. through UN/COPUOS). All these discussions are ongoing perhaps leading to more effective outcomes in the 2020s.
 
Description SEREN - some thoughts from Bz workshops. Talk to workshop scoping ESA SSA programme.
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Space Environment Impacts Expert Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact The formal and informal discussions at SEREN workshops have influenced the work of the UK Space Environment Impacts Expert Group (SEIEG), which is the committee of space weather experts advising UK government on space weather issues (many SEIEG members have attended SEREN events. Through SEIEG the influence has extended to the development of space weather policy first in Cabinet Office, and now in BIS and GO Science. Key examples include: (a) government exercises to simulate a space weather emergency as carried out at national level in July 2015, and planning for a regional exercise in autumn 2016, and (b) proposals for further UK investment in space weather monitoring and forecasting that should come to a decision later in 2016.
 
Title Low-power magnetometers for space weather monitoring 
Description Following discussions at the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts, British Geological Survey, University of Lancaster and Met Office started a project to develop a low-power magnetometers for space weather monitoring, partly funded through an STFC grant. The aim was, at low cost, set up an infrastructure to enhance geomagnetic monitoring in the UK - a small network of magnetometers. Schools were a particular target for this - but with the aim of doing science, not just raising student awareness of the subject. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact * the scientific quality of the data has proved better than might have been expected. * presentations have been made in various forums, including meetings of (a) the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, and the European Space Weather Workshops. 
URL http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/education/raspberry_pi_magnetometer.html
 
Title New tool for CME/Flare predictions 
Description Participation in SEREN encouraged Sheffield University to work on new tool for CME/Flare predictions 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Two ApJ papers accepted (reported under publications); tool to be released soon 
 
Title Telluric monitoring in the UK 
Description One of the major impacts of space weather is to drive changes in the geoelectric fields present at the Earth's surface - these play an important role in mediating between geomagnetic activity (which can induce geoelectric fields) and excess currents in power grids (driven by the geoelectric field). Telluric monitoring describes the monitoring of these fields and associated earth currents - and is a long-established technique. British Geological Survey resumed the technique some years ago - making routine measurements at their 3 main UK geomagnetic observatories in Devon, Scottish Borders and Shetland. SEREN has contributed to this by reinforcing the case to continue these measurements - through discussions at the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The SEREN workshops have reinforced the value of these measurements as they provide a powerful means of validating models used to assess and forecast space weather impacts on power grids. The mediating role of the geoelectric field means that these measurements can enable us to check intermediate steps within physics-based models of space weather impact. This all adds weight to the case for BGS to continue these measurements. The SEREN workshops have also raised international interest in these measurements. 
URL http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/data_service/space_weather/geoelectric.html
 
Title Development of geomagnetic data products by British Geological Survey 
Description The SEREN workshop on geomagnetically induced currents (March 2014) was instrumental in stimulating work at British Geological Survey whereby they further improved the geomagnetic data and data products that are supplied to the UK space weather forecasting centre at Met Office (Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre, MOSWOC) as part of work down through the UK Natural Hazards Partnership. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Met Office has better access to key UK information on geomagnetic conditions, especially over the UK, but also globally. 
 
Description Faraday rotation: remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field 
Organisation ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field is a holy grail of space weather as it would enable much better forecasting of space weather conditions at Earth. The radio astronomy technique of Faraday rotation is a potential solution, and is now being studied by RAL Space together with these partners. The SEREN Bz workshops have stimulated our team to explore the technique and to address key challenges, e.g. how ionospheric variations affect the measurements, and how best to extract information from our radio signals.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership rests on a strong exchange of ideas so it's hard to separate out the roles of partners.
Impact It is very much early days but leading to future publications on the Faraday rotation technique, which can be reported in future inputs.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Faraday rotation: remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field 
Organisation National Autonomous University of Mexico
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field is a holy grail of space weather as it would enable much better forecasting of space weather conditions at Earth. The radio astronomy technique of Faraday rotation is a potential solution, and is now being studied by RAL Space together with these partners. The SEREN Bz workshops have stimulated our team to explore the technique and to address key challenges, e.g. how ionospheric variations affect the measurements, and how best to extract information from our radio signals.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership rests on a strong exchange of ideas so it's hard to separate out the roles of partners.
Impact It is very much early days but leading to future publications on the Faraday rotation technique, which can be reported in future inputs.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Faraday rotation: remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department RAL Space
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field is a holy grail of space weather as it would enable much better forecasting of space weather conditions at Earth. The radio astronomy technique of Faraday rotation is a potential solution, and is now being studied by RAL Space together with these partners. The SEREN Bz workshops have stimulated our team to explore the technique and to address key challenges, e.g. how ionospheric variations affect the measurements, and how best to extract information from our radio signals.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership rests on a strong exchange of ideas so it's hard to separate out the roles of partners.
Impact It is very much early days but leading to future publications on the Faraday rotation technique, which can be reported in future inputs.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Faraday rotation: remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field 
Organisation South African National Space Agency
Country South Africa 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field is a holy grail of space weather as it would enable much better forecasting of space weather conditions at Earth. The radio astronomy technique of Faraday rotation is a potential solution, and is now being studied by RAL Space together with these partners. The SEREN Bz workshops have stimulated our team to explore the technique and to address key challenges, e.g. how ionospheric variations affect the measurements, and how best to extract information from our radio signals.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership rests on a strong exchange of ideas so it's hard to separate out the roles of partners.
Impact It is very much early days but leading to future publications on the Faraday rotation technique, which can be reported in future inputs.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Faraday rotation: remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field 
Organisation University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Remote sensing of the heliospheric magnetic field is a holy grail of space weather as it would enable much better forecasting of space weather conditions at Earth. The radio astronomy technique of Faraday rotation is a potential solution, and is now being studied by RAL Space together with these partners. The SEREN Bz workshops have stimulated our team to explore the technique and to address key challenges, e.g. how ionospheric variations affect the measurements, and how best to extract information from our radio signals.
Collaborator Contribution The partnership rests on a strong exchange of ideas so it's hard to separate out the roles of partners.
Impact It is very much early days but leading to future publications on the Faraday rotation technique, which can be reported in future inputs.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Impact on space weather of long-term changes in the geomagnetic field 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SEREN has helped Leeds to win a case studentship (sponsored by BGS for 2015-2019) which involves (in part) the impact of long-term changes in the geomagnetic field on space wather
Collaborator Contribution Leeds has initiated the CASE studentship, which completed in autumn of 2019 . BGS provided a co-supervisor.
Impact Student thesis completed in 2019, with main focus on long-term evolution of the geomagnetic field. Future work will show how this feeds into our understanding of space weather impacts.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Participation in FLARECAST H2020 project 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Department Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution University of Sheffield was stimulated by SEREN to join in activities with the Flarecast H2020 project - an EU project led by National Observatory of Athens to develop better forecasting services for solar flares - a project well aligned with the interests of the Sheffield group.
Collaborator Contribution The Sheffield team participated in FLARECAST workshops and learned a lot from stakeholders who wish to use forecasting services.
Impact Stimulated plans for new H2020 proposal called FORESEE
Start Year 2015
 
Description Solar sources of space weather 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discussions at the Dec 2015 SEREN workshop on the heliospheric magnetic field have stimulated these two groups to seek funding for research to improve our understanding of two solar sources of space weather that are relevant to space weather forecasting: (a) the generation of solar radio bursts (relevant to forecasts of ionospheric blackout), and (b) energy release from coronal magnetic fields via magnetic reconnection (fundamental driver of many space weather phenomena.
Collaborator Contribution QMUL to supply kinetic plasma modelling expertise and Met Office to advise as potential users of such models.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2015
 
Description Solar sources of space weather 
Organisation Queen Mary University of London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Discussions at the Dec 2015 SEREN workshop on the heliospheric magnetic field have stimulated these two groups to seek funding for research to improve our understanding of two solar sources of space weather that are relevant to space weather forecasting: (a) the generation of solar radio bursts (relevant to forecasts of ionospheric blackout), and (b) energy release from coronal magnetic fields via magnetic reconnection (fundamental driver of many space weather phenomena.
Collaborator Contribution QMUL to supply kinetic plasma modelling expertise and Met Office to advise as potential users of such models.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2015
 
Description Space Physics impact of energetic particle effects on the Earth's atmosphere and climate system 
Organisation British Antarctic Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SEREN helped Lancaster to establish to a Newton Fund project with BAS entitled "Space Physics impact of energetic particle effects on the Earth's atmosphere and climate system".
Collaborator Contribution Lancaster working on a radiation belt drop-out study using RBSP satellite and VLF ground-based data. This also feeds into a new low-cost mesospheric ozone radiometer (called MOSAIC) that we have built both at BAS and Lancaster University and was testing at BAS. MOSAIC is due to be deployed in a chain from Svalbard to south pole via Europe and Africa.
Impact No yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Physics impact of energetic particle effects on the Earth's atmosphere and climate system 
Organisation Lancaster University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SEREN helped Lancaster to establish to a Newton Fund project with BAS entitled "Space Physics impact of energetic particle effects on the Earth's atmosphere and climate system".
Collaborator Contribution Lancaster working on a radiation belt drop-out study using RBSP satellite and VLF ground-based data. This also feeds into a new low-cost mesospheric ozone radiometer (called MOSAIC) that we have built both at BAS and Lancaster University and was testing at BAS. MOSAIC is due to be deployed in a chain from Svalbard to south pole via Europe and Africa.
Impact No yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation Beihang University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation British Antarctic Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Imperial College Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation Lancaster University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space Weather Impact on Ground Systems 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a collaboration that successfully bid for NERC Highlight grant funding to study space weather impacts on critical UK infrastructures. The bid arose out of many discussions stimulated by SEREN, especially a workshop held in Edinburgh in March 2014. RAL Space is contributing on physics of field-aligned currents and also impacts on rail infrastructures - including links with industry to construct impact scenarios and analyse anomaly data.
Collaborator Contribution Leadership of consortium (BGS) plus mix of other skills in external and internal geophysics needed to address study goals
Impact This collaboration has been superseded by the NERC-funded SWIGS project. So other outputs will be reported directly to ResearchFish via reports from the SWIGS grants that are now running. The purpose of this entry is to note that the SEREN grant led to the SWIGS collaboration.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation British Antarctic Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation Lancaster University
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department RAL Space
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Space-based studies of geomagnetic disturbances and their space weather impacts 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of this partnership was strongly stimulated by the SEREN workshop on power grid impacts. It aims to improve our understanding of geomagnetic fields and disturbances by encouraging major UK exploitation of the ESA Swarm, now in flight operations as part of the ESA Earth Observation programme. The aim is a better understanding of the natural electric currents that flow in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to develop better models of how these lead to geomagnetically induced currents that are a threat to stable operation of power grids. It was the subject of an unsuccessful for a NERC Large Grant. The partners are exploring other funding opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution No detailed information on the split of contributions, but there is a natural split between RAL, Lancaster, Imperial, UCL and BAS focusing on the magnetospheric and atmospheric aspects of the study, whilst Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool focus on how the solid earth modifies the response to geomagnetic disturbances, whilst BGS has expertise in both areas.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description What measures best capture space weather impact on power grid 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A major challenge in assessing space weather risks to the power grid is to distinguish the extent to which a large geomagnetic storm will affect grid operation. The conventional methods of classifying geomagnetic storms has only one category for large storms (a top value of 9 on the Kp index developed in the 1930s, or more recently as G5 storms using the US space weather scales). But the impact on the power grid of a G5 storm may vary from minimal to catastrophic - perhaps one in 40 of G5 storms will give that catastrophe. The SEREN workshops on power grid risks have stimulated these three partners to explore ways of resolving this category of large storms to better identify the really dangerous events.
Collaborator Contribution At the moment there is no clear distinction between partner contributions, so it is all covered above.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description What measures best capture space weather impact on power grid 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A major challenge in assessing space weather risks to the power grid is to distinguish the extent to which a large geomagnetic storm will affect grid operation. The conventional methods of classifying geomagnetic storms has only one category for large storms (a top value of 9 on the Kp index developed in the 1930s, or more recently as G5 storms using the US space weather scales). But the impact on the power grid of a G5 storm may vary from minimal to catastrophic - perhaps one in 40 of G5 storms will give that catastrophe. The SEREN workshops on power grid risks have stimulated these three partners to explore ways of resolving this category of large storms to better identify the really dangerous events.
Collaborator Contribution At the moment there is no clear distinction between partner contributions, so it is all covered above.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description What measures best capture space weather impact on power grid 
Organisation The National Grid Co plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A major challenge in assessing space weather risks to the power grid is to distinguish the extent to which a large geomagnetic storm will affect grid operation. The conventional methods of classifying geomagnetic storms has only one category for large storms (a top value of 9 on the Kp index developed in the 1930s, or more recently as G5 storms using the US space weather scales). But the impact on the power grid of a G5 storm may vary from minimal to catastrophic - perhaps one in 40 of G5 storms will give that catastrophe. The SEREN workshops on power grid risks have stimulated these three partners to explore ways of resolving this category of large storms to better identify the really dangerous events.
Collaborator Contribution At the moment there is no clear distinction between partner contributions, so it is all covered above.
Impact Not known
Start Year 2014
 
Description Awareness workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The adverse impact of space weather on advanced technologies has become an important motivation for research into the physical processes that occur in the Sun, in the solar wind, and in the magnetosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere of the Earth (as well as studies of the vulnerable technologies). This meeting sought to explore how the UK scientific community can best respond to that motivation, by raising community awareness (a) of the multiple pathways by which solar activity leads to adverse technological impacts, and (b) of the complexity inherent in these pathways, especially the driving of geomagnetic and ionospheric storms by coronal mass ejections. This was done through a mix of talks on the science and impacts of space weather by relevant experts from universities, research institutes, industry and government. The consequent exchange of ideas was welcomed by many, if not all, attendees.

One important conclusion from the meeting was the need to develop a common vocabulary to support dialogue about space weather across these diverse communities. Thus it is proposed to develop a space weather dictionary as part of the follow-up from this meeting.

tbd
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://twiki.ukssdc.ac.uk/twiki/bin/view/SEREN/AwarenessMeeting
 
Description Met Office visit (David Long) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visit to Met Office in Exeter by David Long from Mullard Space Science Laboratory, 12-16 October 2014. This was exchange visit between an academic researcher (David Long) and the space weather forecast team at Met Office. It enabled (a) the researcher to better understand how the Met Office can run space weather models for forecasting - both the operational context and the requirements for the code to be robust and fully operational, and (b) the Met Office to understand the capabilities of the Coronal Pulse Identification and Tracking Algorithm (CorPITA) code developed by the researcher to identify and track global waves in the solar atmosphere in an automated fashion. The key outcome was a better sense of what is needed to improve space weather forecasting, as well as identifying gaps in our understanding.

Follow-up activities to implement the CorPITA code on the Met Office systems, and to enhance it to give an improved characterisation of erupting CMEs (so it can then be used as an improved input for existing Met Office forecast models.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description QB50 operational modes workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact 15 experts met to discuss potential operating modes for the QB50 cubesat mission. This is an FP7 project (https://www.qb50.eu/) that will launch a large number of cubesats (small satellites around 1 kg mass) to measure conditions in the upper atmosphere, which is strongly influenced by space weather. This mission is a great opportunity to improve our understanding of the impact of space weather on the terrestrial environment - for the first time making simultaneous in-situ satellite measurements at such a large number of points. The SEREN involvement enabled many UK scientists to engage with the QB50 team (from UK and Belgium) to discuss optimising the scientific return, which will be valuable for understanding space weather.

Has led to an outline proposal for a NERC Large Grant submitted in March 2014 by a consortium of five UK research teams.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Workshop 1 on geomagnetically induced currents 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Meeting of 25 experts on geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) in power grids. Held at British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, March 5/6, 2014. Aim was to explore how future research in space weather can improve mitigation of the problems caused by GIC. Meeting engaged industry (e.g. National Grid, Scottish Power and Atkins) and policy-makers (Cabinet Office and Scottish Government) as well as academic in STFC and NERC communities (important to link these two communities). We also engaged top-level international expertise, from Canada, Ireland, Sweden and South Africa (another important link as this is global problem).

To soon to judge. Follow-up workshop planned for Autumn 2014 will bring this out.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://twiki.ukssdc.ac.uk/twiki/bin/view/SEREN/FirstMeeting
 
Description Workshop 1 on ground-based space weather observations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Meeting of 13 UK experts on the use of ground-based instruments to monitor space weather conditions in the upper atmosphere and in the geomagnetic field. The meeting reviewed the status of current UK work in this area, showing that the country provides a substantial fraction of the current global capability for such measurements, which is itself much less than what is required (e.g. as specified by WMO working group on space weather). This was a first step to bringing groups together to develop a more coordinated UK approach to the operation and furture development of ground-based space weather observations

The participants all agreed to some "homework" - to develop a set of white papers on different instrument types, the prospects for future development (e.g. better use of modern technology to reduce operating costs) and the fit to WMO requirements on space weather measurements. These will be prepared over coming months and reviewed at a follow-up event later in 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://twiki.ukssdc.ac.uk/twiki/bin/view/SEREN/Meeting1
 
Description Workshop 1 on the evolution of the geoeffective heliospheric magnetic field 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Meeting of 20 experts on the measurement and modelling of the heliospheric magnetic field and its impact on the terrestrial environments (by driving geomagnetic storms). Hosted by STFC/RAL Space, 9/10 July 2014. Aim was to review current state-of-art in, and near-term plans for, measuring and modelling the HMF, to assess how this fits with needs of space weather forecasters and discuss how future research can better match measurement and modelling capabilities to those needs. Meeting engaged industry (Airbus DS), government bodies (DSTL, Met Office and UK Space Agency) as well as academics from six UK groups funded by STFC and NERC. We also had strong US participation, reflecting the global nature of the problem, with attendees from the US Space Weather Prediction Center, Haystack Observatory and European Office of Aerospace Research & Development.

It has stimulated and encouraged wide UK community discussion on future measurements and modelling of the HMF, in particular the Carrington mission concept being developed by Airbus DS UK in collaboration with RAL Space, Met Office, Imperial College and MSSL.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://twiki.ukssdc.ac.uk/twiki/bin/view/SEREN/BzWorkshop1
 
Description Workshop 2 on the evolution of the geoeffective heliospheric magnetic field 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the second of a pair of workshops on the heliospheric magnetic field organised by the SEREN network. It was a follow-on from the previous meeting in July 2014 and aimed to discuss ways forward in using, adapting, and developing new methods for the observation and prediction of the magnetic-field Bz 'evolution' throughout the inner heliosphere, and of Bz ahead of the Sun-Earth L1 point to increase the essential advanced-warning time of any potential geoeffective heliospheric structure coming to Earth.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://twiki.ukssdc.ac.uk/twiki/bin/view/SEREN/BzWorkshop2