Space weather research and services

Extension of the global NM network - optimization for space weather purposes

A. Mishev, I. Usoskin

Over the years the global neutron monitor (NM) network was successfully used to study cosmic ray variations and fluxes of solar energetic solar particles (SEPs). Recently, it has been used also for space weather purposes, specifically for alerts and the related assessment of the exposure to radiation. Here, we review the current status and applications of the global NM network and discuss its capability to study SEPs, namely assessment of their spectral and angular distribution, during large ground level enhancements. We discuss the existing regional gaps in the network and propose an improvement of space weather services and application of the global NM network by a plan for an extension of the existing network with several new monitors. We discuss the ability of the optimized global NM network to study various populations of SEPs and to provide reliable space weather services.


NMDB database and global survey method

P.Yu. Gololobov, Yu.G. Shafer Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Aeronomy of SB RAS, Yakutsk, Russia
S.A. Starodubtsev, Yu.G. Shafer Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Aeronomy of SB RAS, Yakutsk,Russia
V.G. Grigoryev, Yu.G. Shafer Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Aeronomy of SB RAS, Yakutsk,Russia
A.S. Zverev, Yu.G. Shafer Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Aeronomy of SB RAS, Yakutsk,Russia

The method of a global survey developed in the 1970s allows using a world-wide network of neutron monitor stations as a single multidirectional device. Wherein, receiving characteristics of each device, which reflects their geometries and geographical positions, are taken into account. Such an approach makes it possible to define the first two angular moments of the distribution function of cosmic rays in the interplanetary space at each hour of observation. With the creation in 2007 and subsequent development of an international database of neutron monitors NMDB, for the first time it appeared an opportunity to use the global survey method in real-time mode. Such a situation creates a unique possibility to use the results not only for scientific researches but also for space weather forecasting. To use the data of the world-wide network of neutron monitors it is necessary to carry preliminary preparations. Thereby, in the current work, the main attention is attracted to a solution to some practical questions that arise when using the NMDB database in real-time.



Olga Kryakunova, Institute of Ionosphere, Kazakhstan
Anatoly Belov, Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russia
Artem Abunin, Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russia
Nikolay Nikolayevskiy, Institute of Ionosphere, Kazakhstan
Maria Abunina, Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russia
Uakaskan Baideldinov, Institute of Ionosphere, Kazakhstan
Suleimen Sultangazinov, Institute of Ionosphere, Kazakhstan
Botakoz Seifullina, Institute of Ionosphere, Kazakhstan
Irina Tsepakina, Institute of Ionosphere, Kazakhstan

The behavior of high-energy magnetospheric electrons with an energy >2 MeV in geostationary orbits in 22-24 solar activity cycles is considered. The daily fluence is selected as the main characteristic of the behavior of electrons measured by GOES satellites. In this work, we assumed that the electron flux begins to grow when the daily fluence exceeds 1000000000 electrons/(cm2 sr day). It is shown that the largest number of electron increases occurs in the declining phase of solar activity cycles, when there are more geoeffective coronal holes. It was obtained that in general in 2003-2015 there is a correspondence between the behavior of the number of electron increases, the square of geoeffective coronal holes and magnetic flux from them. It was shown that during very big electron enhancements, big Forbush effects recorded by the ground-based network of neutron monitors are observed.


A New Cosmic Ray Observation at Syowa Station in the Antarctic

W. Kihara, Y. Ko, K. Munakata, C. Kato*; Physics Department, Shinshu University, Japan
R. Kataoka, A. Kadokura; National Institute of Polar Research, Japan
P. Evenson; Bartol Research Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Delaware, USA
Y. Nakamura; Key Laboratory of Particle Astrophysics, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
K. Murase; Department of Space and Astronautical Science, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI, JAPAN
S. Miyake; Department of Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Ibaraki College, Japan
* presenter

A new Neutron Monitor (NM) started its operation on Feb. 1st, 2018 at Syowa Station in the Antarctic. Since then, the NM is stably monitoring Cosmic Ray (CR) neutron, which is used for space weather study. Distinctive feature of this NM is that it is paired with CR muon detector (MD). This unique feature allows us to measure time variation of CR intensity with different energy, observed as neutron or muon on the ground. It can work well on the integrated analysis of NM network data and the GMDN data. Hourly count data of NM are transferred daily to a database server in Japan. On the other hand, MD data are transferred hourly because of different recording system. Data corrected for the contribution of atmospheric pressure are partially on release as quick look at the following URL:
This site makes it easy to find space weather event on CR. Predicted value by a model is also available on the web page. Count rate for any interested time period can be plotted and downloaded. The new NM&MD detector system will contribute to deliver a beneficial outcome on space weather study.


Signs of geoeffective space weather events in cosmic rays during the first half of the solar cycle 24

A. Gil, R. Modzelewska, Sz. Moskwa, A. Siluszyk, M. Siluszyk, A. Wawrzynczak

Solar originating events are continually evident in galactic cosmic ray (GCR) flux registered at the ground by neutron monitors (NMs). We analyze time intervals of sporadic Forbush decreases (Fd) observed by NMs, as well as halo coronal mass ejections (CMEs) appearance, which are the origin of these former, during the first half of solar cycle 24. We consider NMs data, as well as, solar, heliospheric and geomagnetic activity parameters, around those periods, using different mathematical tools. Subsequently, an impact of space weather phenomena on energy infrastructure is well known, in the further step we consider logs from one of the main Polish transmission lines operators during the time intervals of Fds and halo CMEs occurrence. Based on the data from Institute of Meteorology and Water Management-Polish National Research Institute we exclude from the analysis the weather-related failures. We found that the increase in the superposed averaged number of failures appears around Forbush decreases, as well as one day after the fast halo CME occurrence.


A Particular ICME Event in August 2018 Observed with the Ground Based Muon Detectors and Neutron Monitors

W. Kihara, K. Munakata, C. Kato; Physics Department, Shinshu University, Japan
R. Kataoka, A. Kadokura; National Institute of Polar Research, Japan
S. Miyake; Department of Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Ibaraki College, Japan
J. Kota; Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, USA
P. Evenson; Bartol Research Institute, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Delaware, USA

We demonstrate that global observations of high-energy cosmic rays contribute to understanding the unique characteristic of a large-scale magnetic flux rope causing a magnetic storm in August 2018. Following a weak interplanetary shock on 25 August 2018, a magnetic flux rope caused an unexpectedly large geomagnetic storm (real-time Dst index minimum = -174 nT on 26 August 2018). It is likely that this event became geoeffective because the flux rope was accompanied by the corotating interaction region and compressed by high-speed solar wind following the flux rope. In fact, a Forbush decrease was observed in cosmic-ray data inside the flux rope as expected, and a significant cosmic-ray density increase exceeding the unmodulated level before the shock was also observed near the trailing edge of the flux rope. The cosmic-ray density increase can be interpreted in terms of the adiabatic heating of cosmic rays inside the trailing edge of the flux rope, as the observed corotating interaction region is expected to prevent a free expansion of the flux rope and results in the compression near the trailing edge. The northwest-directing spatial gradient of the cosmic-ray density was also observed during the cosmic-ray density increase, suggesting that the center of the heating near the trailing edge is located northwest of Earth. This is one of the best examples demonstrating that the observation of high-energy cosmic rays provides us with unique information to observationally constrain the three-dimensional macroscopic picture of the interaction between CMEs and the ambient solar wind, which is essentially useful to predict large magnetic storms.


Status of a European network of SEVAN detectors

A.Chilingarian1, T.Karapetyan1*, J.Knapp2, B.Sargsyan1, M.Walter2
1. A.I. Alikhanyan National Science Laboratory (Yerevan Physics Institute), Armenia
2. Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Germany
* Presenter

The Space Environment Viewing and Analysis Network (SEVAN) aims to improve fundamental research on particle acceleration in the vicinity of the sun, on space weather and on high-energy physics in the atmosphere and lightning initiation. This new type of particle detector simultaneously measures fluxes of secondary cosmic rays (electrons, photons, muons and neutrons) from solar modulation and particle acceleration in a thunderstorm atmosphere.

SEVAN modules are operating at the Aragats Space Environmental Center (ASEC) in Armenia, in Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany (DESY sites in Hamburg and Zeuthen, since 2019).

SEVAN detectors provide the advantages over detectors measuring only individual particles. Simultaneously and with high time resolution, they measure count rates of: low energy charged, neutral particles and high energy muons.

With SEVAN detectors we

  • probe different populations of primary cosmic rays with rigidities up to GV;
  • provide spectra of solar energetic particles (SEPs) and their spectral features;
  • record ground level enhancements (GLEs) initiated by solar protons and neutrons;
  • show energy dependences of the barometric coefficients and diurnal waves;
  • enlarge the reliability of Space Weather alerts due to simultaneous detection of fluxes of different particles;
  • detect thunderstorm ground enhancements (TGEs) in gamma ray and charged particle fluxes;
  • shed light on cloud electrification by measuring surges and deficits of particle fluxes;
  • record runaway electron acceleration during thunderstorms and lightning initiation.

We present the detectors and their performance over from 10 years of operation, and give an overview of a wide range of results that have been achieved with such a simple and cheap detector system.

* Presenter


A new directional muon telescope for Space Weather application

Sindulfo Ayuso, Universidad de Alcalá, Castilla-La Mancha Neutron Monitor, Spain
Juan José Blanco Universidad de Alcalá, Castilla-La Mancha Neutron Monitor, Spain
Ignacio García Tejedor Universidad de Alcalá, Castilla-La Mancha Neutron Monitor, Spain
Oscar García Población Universidad de Alcalá, Castilla-La Mancha Neutron Monitor, Spain
Iván Vrublevskyy Universidad de Alcalá, Spain
José Medina Castilla-La Mancha Neutron Monitor

Primary Cosmic Rays (CR) are modulated by solar disturbances like Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and shock waves before they reach the Earth. The interactions of primary cosmic rays with air molecules nuclei at the top of the atmosphere originate a shower of secondary particles including muons and neutrons which reach the Earth’s surface. This phenomenon is very useful in Space Weather since geomagnetic storms can be forecasted several hours in advance by ground-based cosmic ray detectors like neutron monitors and muon telescopes. Earth-bound CMEs and shock waves are detectable with multidirectional muon telescopes earlier than with neutron monitors because muon detectors respond to higher energy cosmic rays. Furthermore, the study of directionality may provide additional and valuable information about cosmic rays modulating events. However, multidirectional muon telescopes, as those of Nagoya (Japan), are not easily affordable because of their size and cost. In this work, we present the MITO design concept, useful in Space Weather, which uses only two scintillators (1 m2) and eight photomultipliers (PMT). It has been conceived not only to achieve muon flux registering, but also muon arrival directions through the capture and analysis of multiple PMT pulse amplitude data. In this way, the number of scintillators and electronic components is reduced, simplifying its design and construction and reducing volume, weight and cost in comparison to other directional telescopes based on two-layer matrices, but obtaining similar angular resolution. The first prototype was shipped from Spain to Antarctica where it is now recording data and some preliminary results are also presented.


Local Intermittency Measure analysis of Neutron Monitor data

Alexander MacKinnon, University of Glasgow
Sam Rennie, Nottingham Trent University/University of Glasgow

Local Intermittency Measure (LIM) is a development of wavelet analysis particularly suited to the diagnosis of isolated, intermittent events in time series. We show LIM scaleograms of Neutron Monitor (NM) data, establishing that GLE’s and Forbush decreases both show distinctive signatures. LIM may thus be a useful tool for automated or semi-automated detection of such events in NM data. We further investigate its usefulness by searching for previously unrecognised NM signatures of space weather events.


Relationship of the characteristics of Large Forbush Decreases and the heliolongitude of their sources

M. Papailiou1, M. Abunina2, A. Belov2, E. Eroshenko2, V. Yanke2, H. Mavromichalaki1
1Nuclear and Particle Physics Department, Faculty of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15784 Athens, Greece
2Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radiowave Propagation Russian Academy of Sciences (IZMIRAN), Troitsk, Moscow, 108840, Russia

The study of Forbush decreases reveals a wide variety of these events in regard to the amplitude and the duration of the events, the anisotropy, etc. The diversity of the solar sources related to them may be one factor that could provide interesting results about the aforementioned variety and the various manifestations of their characteristics.

In this investigation the different features and characteristics of Forbush decreases, with emphasis on large Forbush decreases (≥4%) and their association to solar sources, are being examined. According to the heliolongitude of the solar source, the events under study were separated into three subcategories: western (21º ≤ heliolongitude ≤ 60º), eastern (-60º ≤ heliolongitude ≤ -21º) and central (-20º ≤ heliolongitude ≤ 20º). The selected events cover the time period 1967 - 2017. The ‘Global Survey Method’ was used for analyzing the Forbush decreases, along with data on solar flares, solar wind speed, geomagnetic indices (Kp and Dst), and interplanetary magnetic field. In addition, the superimposed epoch method was applied in order to plot the time profiles for the aforementioned group of events.

This detailed analysis reveals interesting results concerning the features of cosmic ray decreases in regard to the heliolongitude of the solar sources. Moreover, it is also shown that large Forbush decreases, regardless of the heliolongitude of the solar source, are accompanied by increased geomagnetic activity and increased anisotropy, including anisotropy before the events, which can serve as a typical precursor of Forbush decreases.


Kerguelen and Terre Adelie neutron monitors - a status report

Nicolas Fuller, Karl-Ludwig Klein, Observatoire de Paris

We give a status report about the neutron monitors at Kerguelen Island and Terre Adelie (Antarctica), operated by the French Polar Institute (IPEV) and exploited by Paris Observatory. They contribute to the observational coverage of the Southern hemisphere of the Earth, and are key elements of the implication of Paris Observatory in space weather activities. These include the monitoring of the radiation doses received by civil air crew in France in the framework of the SIEVERT programme conducted by the French Institute for Radio Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) and the French contribution, within the Australia-Canada-France-Japan consortium, to the real-time space weather service for civil aviation worldwide under the auspices of ICAO. Ongoing activities with the two instruments will be outlined, together with technical problems that affect the reliable functioning of the instruments.


First results from the operative cosmic ray detector at Marambio Base, Antarctic Peninsula.N.A.

Santos[1], S. Dasso[1,2,3], A.M. Gulisano[2,3,4], O. Areso[2], M. Pereira[2], M. Ramelli[2],for the LAGO collaboration[5] [1] UBA FCEyN, Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos (DCAO), Argentina. [2] IAFE/UBA CONICET, Argentina. [3] UBA FCEyN, Departamento de Física (DF), Argentina. [4] Instituto Antártico Argentino/ DNA, Argentina. [5]

During 2019 an Antarctic Space Weather Laboratory was deployed by the LAMP group (Laboratorio Argentino de Meteorología del esPacio) at Marambio base, Antarctic Peninsula.

The main instrument installed was a cosmic ray detector based on water Cherenkov radiation. This detector is the first permanent Antarctic node of the LAGO (Latin American Giant Observatory) Collaboration. The laboratory and the LAGO node are located at 64.24S-56.62W and 200 m a.s.l.

The LAGO Colaboration manage an extended astroparticle observatory at global scale. It is mainly oriented to basic research in three branches of astroparticle physics: Extreme Universe, Space Weather Phenomena, and Atmospheric Radiation at Ground Level.

Long-term, calibrated observations of the cosmic ray detector will be presented: the total rate of secondary particles. Also, we will study how atmospheric conditions influence the variability of the observed flux of secondary particles at Marambio.

Finally, observed flux at Marambio will be compared with observed flux at Oulu (a neutron monitorstation), which has a magnetic rigidity cut-off similar to Marambio.