Sensitivity of geomagnetically induced currents to varying auroral electrojet and conductivity models

Beggan, Ciaran D.. 2015 Sensitivity of geomagnetically induced currents to varying auroral electrojet and conductivity models. Earth, Planets and Space, 67 (24). 12, pp.

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Geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) are created by the interaction of rapid changes in the magnitude of the magnetic field with the conductive subsurface of the Earth. The changing magnetic field induces electric currents, which are particularly strong along boundaries between regions of contrasting conductivity structure such as the land and sea. A technique known as the ‘thin-sheet approximation’ can be used to determine the electric field at the Earth’s surface, which in turn allows the calculation of GIC in the earthing connections of high-voltage nodes within a power grid. The thin-sheet approximation uses a spatially varying conductance over the region of interest on a 2D surface, combined with a 1D layered model of upper lithosphere conductance. We produce synthetic models of the auroral electrojet in different locations over the United Kingdom (UK) and investigate the effects of varying the 2D thin-sheet model. We assess different two-dimensional surface conductance models and vary the underlying 1D conductivity models to simulate the effects of resistant through to conductive lithosphere. With an advanced network model of high-voltage electrical distribution grid, we compute the expected GIC at each node in the system given the input surface electric fields from the various synthetic electrojets and conductivity models. We find that the electrojet location is the primary control on the size of GIC, with conductivity being a second-order effect in general, though it can be locally important.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1343-8832
Additional Keywords: Geomagnetically induced currents; Ground conductivity; Electric field
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 25 Feb 2015 13:18 +0 (UTC)

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