Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description

Analysis of geomagnetic storm events.

(supervisor: Heather McCreadie)

Nature of project: data analysis, software

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes only.

Project description and methodology

In a typical year geomagnetic storms happen. Three geomagnetic storms in one year with different initial signatures will be analysed using available data from magnetometers and any other instruments. The student will have to first describe physically what a geomagnetic storm is and then use the data gathered to examine aspects of the storm's initial phase, progression and waning.

Any available data can be chosen - the level of difficulty depends on the data chosen. Choices range from radar, satellite, geomagnetic, ionosonde and others.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
Code writing for analysing data for each instrument.

Modelling events using solar wind data and forecasting techniques.

In-depth analysis with a view to fully describing a storm event.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: The student will have to describe the events from the perspective of satellite data for a year four project.

Please speak to Heather McCreadie if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. Gonzalez, W. D., J. A. Joselyn, Y. Kamide, H. W. Kroehl, G. Rostoker, B. T. Tsurutani, and V. M. Vasyliunas (1994), What is a Geomagnetic Storm?, J. Geophys. Res., 99(A4), 5771–5792.
  2. Xu, Z., M. D. Hartinger, C. R. Clauer, T. Peek, and R. Behlke (2017), A comparison of the ground magnetic responses during the 2013 and 2015 St. Patrick's Day geomagnetic storms, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 122, 4023–4036, doi:10.1002/2016JA023338.
  3. https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/solar/sateenvi.html
  4. http://vt.superdarn.org/tiki-index.php

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

The literature review will be difficult as a lot of work has been done in the area. Assistance on specialising will be given.

Initial help with Matlab programming will be given.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
chose and downloaded the data and checked itend of October
Matlab expertise shown in creating a plot.Christmas
Coupling between data sets identified.end of February
Descriptions either mathematically or via words of the three events.Easter