USGS Geomagnetic Observations and Data Services: Recent Upgrades and Additions
The USGS' Geomagnetism Program currently maintains 14 magnetic observatories across North America, the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean. Each belongs to INTERMAGNET, an international consortium of over 150 magnetic observatories that sets exacting standards for ground magnetometer measurements, including low magnetic noise, high temporal resolution, low-latency, and absolutely calibrated vector and total field observations. These data, in turn, contribute to magnetic main-field models, international global magnetic indices, cutting-edge space physics research, and timely space weather operations. Magnetic observatories require significant resources to meet and maintain these high standards, which has limited the manageable number of installations over the years. Recent modest increases to the Geomagnetism Program's budget to expand our magnetometer network, place an emphasis on geomagnetically induced current hazards across the United States, and are ultimately intended to better protect the U.S.'s high-voltage electric power distribution grid through our partnership with NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. My talk will provide an overview of USGS magnetic observatories, focused largely on recent upgrades to operations and data services. It will culminate in a preview of recent efforts to expand our magnetometer network by incorporating lower-cost commercial magnetometers installed at a subset of USGS seismic monitoring stations into our regular operations, effectively doubling the number of USGS real time operational ground magnetometers available for use in space weather applications in the United States.
Josh Rigler earned a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2004, but his research has always focused on the development of advanced statistical methods and models to characterize, interpret, and predict the space environment. After extending his graduate work on the Van Allen radiation belts at CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Josh transferred his energies into magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling at NCAR's High Altitude Observatory as a post-doc in 2006. He soon set his sights higher, working with solar EUV imagery and solar wind data as a CIRES research associate at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in 2008. Finally, Josh came back to Earth, landing at the USGS' Geomagnetism Program in 2011, where he remains firmly grounded to this day as a research & development geophysicist.