The RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting “Space weather and the solid Earth: the hazard to technology at the Earth’s surface” is to be held remotely on Friday 12 March 2021 from 10.30–15.30. It will be convened by Juliane Hübert, Gemma Richardson, Neil Rogers, and Alan Thomson. Abstracts can be submitted here and should be submitted by the end of Friday 22 January 2021. To register, visit the RAS website for the meeting (free for Fellows and £5 for non-Fellows). The meeting will be held on Zoom.
The technological impacts of space weather at ground level are the result of space physics processes driven by solar activity and by geophysical processes both external and internal to the solid Earth. Space weather causes geomagnetically induced currents that can damage power transformers and safety systems. It enhances voltage differences in metal gas transmission pipelines, which increases corrosion rates in pipe steel. Large surface electric fields during space weather may also trip rail circuits. To tackle questions such as where, how big and for how long do impacts last, requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The NERC ‘Space Weather Impacts on Ground-based Systems’ (SWIGS) project therefore brought together a broad spectrum of scientific expertise to answer such questions. SWIGS reaches its end in 2021 and this discussion meeting is intended for the scientific community to take stock of what we have learned about space weather and its impacts at ground level, in the last few years, as well as to discuss the scientific and operational breakthroughs that are still required. Given recent UKRI support for development of operational space weather services in the UK, the timing of this meeting seems particularly appropriate, as we look to a next generation of space weather models and applications.