Solar activity's effect on the Earth's magnetic field

Space climatology is concerned with longer-term changes in the space environment that are driven almost entirely by changes in solar output. Data from ground-based magnetic observatories, including those of the USGS Geomagnetism Program, are an excellent proxy measure of near-Earth geospace conditions, with continuous records going back decades and, sometimes, even centuries. These data can be used to study quiet-time geomagnetic tides, and decades-to-centuries-long secular change in geomagnetic disturbance and magnetic-storm occurrence that is driven by solar-terrestrial interaction and which is modulated by the ~11 year sunspot cycle. Results from space-climatology research enhance our fundamental understanding of the Sun, the Earth and the surrounding space environment; they allow us to make long-term, probabilistic forecasts of space weather and magnetic storms; and they provide context in studies of global climate change.

Examples of space-climatology work published by USGS scientists include:

Primary USGS contact: Jeffrey J. Love