Why do we need all of the geomagnetic indices?

(supervisor: Heather McCreadie)

Nature of project: theory, data analysis

Available to full-time physicists or joint students.

Project description and methodology

There are several geomagnetic indices ratified by the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA). In this project the student will delve into the methodology of each index. Part of the ratification process is that anyone should be able to exactly reproduce the geomagnetic index from scratch. One index will be chosen and reproduced by the student. The outcome of this will be the student will have a thorough knowledge of the terrestrial ionosphere/magnetosphere system.

The student can choose to do a statistical analysis, a model or an event analysis.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The way we measure the interaction of the solar wind with the earth and use this information in models of the magnetosphere/ionosphere is via the geomagnetic indices. If a student wishes to develop this area of research they need to include a forward progression model.

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: This project can be geared for 4th year students. They would have to reproduce the PC index, the most recently ratified geomagnetic index. An understanding of polar vortex system will be required in order to do this.

Initial literature for students:

  1. http://isgi.unistra.fr/
  2. P.N. Mayaud, Derivation, Meaning and Use of Geomagnetic Indices, Geophysical Monograph 22, Am. Geophys. Union, Washington D.C., 1980; for a complete review of the present IAGA indices
  3. G.K. Rangarajan, Indices of magnetic activity, in Geomagnetism, edited by I.A. Jacobs, Academic, San Diego, 1989
  4. M. Menvielle and A. Berthelier, The K-derived planetary indices: description and availability, Rev. Geophys. 29, 3, 415-432, 1991

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

This project's degree of difficulty depends on the geomagnetic index chosen. The literature review will be extensive as a lot of work has been done in the area.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
understanding of data given shownend of October
learning how to use software.Christmas
Collecting magnetograms. Software development.end of February
Comparison of their index with the real one. Easter