Climatological predictions of the auroral zone locations driven by moderate and severe space weather events
Auroral zones are regions where, in an average sense, aurorae due to solar activity are most likely spotted. Their shape and, similarly, the geographical locations most vulnerable to extreme space weather events (which we term ‘danger zones’) are modulated by Earth’s time-dependent internal magnetic field whose structure changes on yearly to decadal timescales. Strategies for mitigating ground-based space weather impacts over the next few decades can benefit from accurate forecasts of this evolution. Existing auroral zone forecasts use simplified assumptions of geomagnetic field variations. By harnessing the capability of modern geomagnetic field forecasts based on the dynamics of Earth’s core we estimate the evolution of the auroral zones and of the danger zones over the next 50 years. Our results predict that space-weather related risk will not change significantly in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Mid-to-high latitude cities such as Edinburgh, Copenhagen and Dunedin will remain in high-risk regions. However, northward change of the auroral and danger zones over North America will likely cause urban centres such as Edmonton and Labrador City to be exposed by 2070 to the potential impact of severe solar activity.
Authors: Maffei, Stefano, Eggington, Joseph W. B., Livermore, Philip W., Mound, Jonathan E., Sanchez, Sabrina, Eastwood, Jonathan P., Freeman, Mervyn P. ORCID record for Mervyn P. Freeman