Estimation of Observatory Geoelectric Fields Induced during Great Magnetic Storms

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jeffrey J Love, USGS Geomagnetism Program, Denver, CO, United States and Andrei Swidinsky, Colorado School of Mines, Geophysics, Golden, CO, United States
In support of a project for monitoring hazards for electric power grids, we present a new method for estimating electric fields that are induced in the Earth’s interior at a particular site during magnetic storms. For this, we adopt a model of the electrical conductivity of the lithosphere that is simple but sufficient to model most variation in the induced geoelectric field: two horizontal layers, each with uniform electrical conductivity properties that can be parameterized by a galvanic distortion tensor. After Laplace transformation of the induction equations into the complex frequency domain, we obtain an electromagnetic impedance function. Upon inverse transformation back to the time domain, convolution of the impedance tensor with a geomagnetic time series yields an estimated geoelectric time series. We optimize the model conductivity parameters using 1-sec resolution magnetic and electric field data collected at the Kakioka magnetic observatory during the October 2003 Halloween storm. We validate the algorithm against Kakioka magnetic and electric field data for the July 2000 Bastille-Day storm. Finally, we infer 1-sec geoelectric fields that were realized (but not directly measured) in Japan during the 1989 Quebec storm. Results highlight the need for improved ground-level monitoring of geomagnetic and geoelectric fields. They also reveal the need for accommodating the galvanic distortion of three-dimensional conductivity when predicting geoelectric fields in the lithosphere and geomagnetically induced currents in electric power grids.