Modeling Geomagnetically Induced Currents From Magnetometer Measurements: Spatial Scale Assessed With Reference Measurements

Mark D. Butala, Maryam Kazerooni, Jonathan J. Makela, Farzad Kamalabadi, Jennifer L. Gannon, Hao Zhu, Thomas J Overbye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Solar-driven disturbances generate geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) that can result in power grid instability and, in the most extreme cases, even failure. Magnetometers provide direct measurements of the geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) effect on the surface magnetic field and GIC response can be determined from the power grid topology and engineering parameters. This paper considers this chain of models: transforming surface magnetic field disturbance to induced surface electric field through an electromagnetic transfer function and, then, induced surface electric field to GIC using the PowerWorld simulator to model a realistic power grid topology. Comparisons are made to transformer neutral current reference measurements provided by the American Transmission Company. Three GMD intervals are studied, with the Kp index reaching 8− on 2 October 2013, 7 on 1 June 2013, and 6− on 9 October 2013. Ultimately, modeled to measured GIC correlations are analyzed as a function of magnetometer to GIC sensor distance. Results indicate that modeling fidelity during the three studied GMD intervals is strongly dependent on both magnetometer to substation transformer baseline distance and GMD intensity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1357-1372
Number of pages16
JournalSpace Weather
Volume15
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • electromagnetic transfer function
  • geomagnetically induced currents
  • magnetometer
  • power grid hazard
  • space weather

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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