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The USGS geomagnetism program and its role in space weather monitoring

January 1, 2011

Magnetic storms result from the dynamic interaction of the solar wind with the coupled magnetospheric-ionospheric system. Large storms represent a potential hazard for the activities and infrastructure of a modern, technologically based society [Baker et al., 2008]; they can cause the loss of radio communications, reduce the accuracy of global positioning systems, damage satellite electronics and affect satellite operations, increase pipeline corrosion, and induce voltage surges in electric power grids, causing blackouts. So while space weather starts with the Sun and is driven by the solar wind, it is on, or just above, the surface of the Earth that the practical effects of space weather are realized. Therefore, ground-based sensor networks, including magnetic observatories [Love, 2008], play an important role in space weather monitoring.

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