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Novel use of soil moisture sensors for space weather event detection

Alex Hands - University of Surrey

Session: Space Weather Instrumentation


Large solar energetic particle events (SEPEs) can lead to rapid and significant increases in atmospheric neutron flux.  Ground level enhancements (GLEs) in neutron flux are detected by a global network of several dozen neutron monitors.  We examine the possibility of exploiting existing networks of smaller sensors, which currently use measurements of ground level neutron flux to infer soil moisture, to provide a complementary data source for GLE detection and characterisation. 

The Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Observing System (COSMOS) has networks of detectors in the UK, North America, Australia and elsewhere.  These provide continuous monitoring of soil moisture at high spatial but relatively low temporal resolution.  We present both historical data and simulations to show how COSMOS detectors could provide a new global network of space weather instrumentation that would significantly enhance current capability.  We explore how enhancements to the existing network capability could lead to a highly localised detection system for space weather events, potentially mitigating the impact of GLEs on ground level infrastructure and aviation in the UK and elsewhere.

Approaching deadlines:

Registration opens:

16 July 2020

Abstract submission opens:

16 July 2020

European Space Weather Medals:

6 September 2020

Registration deadline:

25 September 2020

Registration deadline: [extended]

10 October 2020

Abstract submission deadline:

4 September 2020