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TitleSpace weather hazard assessment for Alberta
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorTrichtchenko, LORCID logo; Nikitina, LORCID logo; Fernberg, P
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 7906, 2015, 156 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksSpace Weather Canada / Météo Spatiale Canada
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS82H; 82I; 82J; 82N; 82O; 82P; 83; 84
Lat/Long WENS-120.0000 -112.0000 56.0000 49.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; Health and Safety; remote sensing; magnetic disturbances; magnetic field; magnetic interpretations; magnetic storms; solar energy; solar variations; geomagnetism; geomagnetic fields; geomagnetic variations; geoelectric variations
Illustrationstables; flow charts; location maps; histograms; plots
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience Northern Canada Geohazards Project
Released2015 08 05
Geomagnetic disturbances produce electric fields that drive electric currents in the Earth and in power transmission networks at the Earth's surface. These geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) flow through transformer windings where they produce partial saturation of the transformer core leading to harmonic generation, increased VAR demand and transformer heating which can cause misoperation of protective relays, voltage sag and damage to equipment. In extreme cases, as in the March 13, 1989, magnetic storm, this can result in burntout transformers and system collapse.
Concern that a major geomagnetic storm could cause widespread problems on the North American power networks has prompted the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to set up a Geomagnetic Disturbance Task Force. This is developing new rules that will require power utilities to undertake a geomagnetic hazard assessment and to take action to mitigate the risks if necessary.
The aim of this research is to understand and assess the possible geomagnetic effects on power systems, pipelines and other ground infrastructure in the province of Alberta.
The report consists of five chapters. Analysis of the geomagnetic activity based on long records of geomagnetic data at several observatories is described in Chapter 1. The geological settings and analysis of the resistivity structures based on an extensive literature review described in the Chapter 2 as well as the resulting ten earth resistivity models which cover the whole province of Alberta.
The theory on the modelling of the geoelectric fields which drives the electric currents in grounded networks is described in Chapter 3. It also presents the results of the statistical analysis of the calculated geoelectric field variations for 40 years as well as the 40-years maximum values for each particular resistivity zone of the province.
The estimated values can be used with power or pipeline network models to calculate the GIC in the power lines or pipe-to-soil potential variations for the pipelines.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Space weather refers to the dynamic conditions on the Sun and in the space environment, in particular, in the near-Earth environment, that can affect critical infrastructure. NRCan operates the Canadian Space Weather Forecast Centre and conducts research into space weather effects on power systems and pipelines to help Canadian industry understand and mitigate the effects of space weather.

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