Skip to Content
ESA SSA SWE Service Page Mockup: NSO/ppl

Non-Space System Operation - Service to pipeline operators


Current image from the product dB/dt forecast.
30-minute maximum forecast for
the rate of change of the magnetic field.

Geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) in technological systems are caused by rapid variations of the geomagnetic field (dB⁄dt) which are always associated with a geoelectric field driving currents in electric conductors. They can disturb the normal operation of pipelines by creating fluctuations in corrosion protection voltages and in the long term by possibly increasing the corrosion rate of the pipeline steel. Real-time monitoring of GIC can be based on ground magnetic field recordings from which GIC can be modelled. Short-term forecasts can be based on the estimated rate of change of the geomagnetic field (dB⁄dt), which provides a proxy for GIC.

The purpose of this service is to give a general overview of GIC and pipe-to-soil voltage (PSV) activity.


This service is implemented through a combination of products, tools and alerts which can be found through the following tabs along with expert support provided by the teams constituting the SWE Network. Should you require further guidance in the use of this service, or have specific questions about any aspects of the service presented here, don’t hesitate to contact the Helpdesk.

This service page is curated by the ESC Geomagnetic Conditions. For further information, please contact SSCC Helpdesk

To assess in detail the magnitude of possible disturbances in pipelines, the products for Local Geoelectric Field include maps for power and pipeline operators. These can be found from the "Products" tab under the "Earth atmosphere and geomagnetic environment" tab. The products include also a table of modelled ground induced current (GIC) and the pipe-to-soil voltage (PSV). At the moment, the coverage of the PSV is limited to the Finnish natural gas pipeline, and the table of modelled GIC contains information only for Norwegian and Finnish power grids.

The products under "Earth magnetosphere" include a collection of geomagnetic indices provided by Tromsø geophysical observatory (TGO), the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC/ROB). These can be used to determine the current geomagnetic conditions. The products under "Interplanetary medium at L1" give forecasts and real-time data for solar wind properties.

GIC are determined by using near real-time ground magnetic field recordings and models of specific conductor systems. As the regional measure, the sum of GIC at all substations of a power grid is used. This value is considered to be large when it exceeds a threshold corresponding to the top 0.1% of all values in long-term statistics. This is indicated in the plots by red colour. GIC in the natural gas pipeline are basically modelled in the same way as in power grids. Its measured value is also shown.

The following quantities are shown on interactive maps for the previous hour: the interpolated ground magnetic field and its rate of change, and the modelled geoelectric field. Additionally, snap shot maps illustrate the time step at which the GIC sum reached its largest value within the latest 24 hours. For the magnetic field, these maps also show measured values. There are specific points to be understood when using this service:

  • The ground conductivity models for calculating the geoelectric field are approximate.
  • However, the use of fixed models of the grids and of the ground conductivity ensures that GIC activity is characterised in a meaningful quantitative way. In other words, if this service indicates a high GIC level in the demo grids then large GIC occur in the true grids too.

The service also includes regional products focussing on mid-latitudes. The Local Current index for Spain provides an indication of regional geoloeletric disturbances that can be used as proxy for GICs. This product is connected to a colour-coded scale that facilitates the communication of the results in terms of levels of disturbance. Users can also subscribe for geomagnetic disturbance alerts and regional reports via the UAH product link.

Horizontal electric field data and horizontal magnetic rate of change, derived from the measurements of three magnetic observatories in UK, are provided by BGS within this service.

A collection of magnetogrammes covering North Europe and Greenland is provided by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Interplanetary medium at L1

Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF)
  • Near-Earth NRT solar wind (DSCOVR)
     SW/L1
  • IMF Index Nowcast 1-hour
     FORIND
  • IMF Index Nowcast 1-minute
     FORIND
  • SIDC Daily space weather bulletin archive
  • SIDC Latest daily space weather bulletin
Solar Wind Bulk Velocity
  • Near-Earth solar wind forecasts (WSA-Enlil + Ensemble)
  • Empirical solar wind speed forecast
     ESWF
  • Solar wind speed forecast (STEREO-A persistence model)
     STA+CH
  • AWARE_NEXT Enhanced 24 hour solar wind forecast
  • Near-Earth NRT solar wind (DSCOVR)
     SW/L1
  • SIDC Daily space weather bulletin archive
  • SIDC Latest daily space weather bulletin
Solar Wind Bulk Density
  • Near-Earth solar wind forecasts (WSA-Enlil + Ensemble)
  • Near-Earth NRT solar wind (DSCOVR)
     SW/L1

Earth magnetosphere

AZ index
  • Geomagnetic activity index for auroral zone (AZ), last 33 days
AZ index, long term variation
  • Geomagnetic activity index for auroral zone (AZ), long term variation
Local geomagnetic forecast
  • Short term (1 hour) local geomagnetic forecast

Earth atmosphere and geomagnetic environment

Local External Magnetic Field on Ground
  • Real-time and historic geomagnetic activity plots and data files for geomagnetic surveying (total field)
  • Real-time and historic geomagnetic activity plots and data files for directional drilling (total field, declination and inclination)
  • Horizontal magnetic rate of change
     BGS
  • Magnetogrammes from North(West) Europe and Greenland
  • Forecasts of dB/dt
     IRF
  • LDiñ
     UAH
  • LCiñ
     UAH
Local Geomagnetic Induced Geoelectric Field
  • Maps for power and pipeline operators
     FMI
  • Table of modelled GIC
     FMI
  • Pipe-to-soil voltage (PSV)
     FMI
  • Horizontal electric field data
     BGS

SWE Data is a web application that provides access to a wide range of Space Weather related data sources covering the areas of the spacecraft, ionospheric, and ground effects. SWE Data allows the user to access all data contained in the repository providing analysis and visualisation tools from these disparate sources.

The following alert is associated with this service:

Geomagnetic Storm Onset

E-mail alerts for geomagnetic disturbances

No preview available

UAH-SWE Subscription

 UAH

No preview available

Sentinel G

 UAH

No preview available

Sentinel C

 UAH

No preview available

UAH-SWE Report

 UAH

No preview available

SolarHeed

 UAH

No preview available

SIDC Human moderated alerts archive

No preview available

SIDC Latest human moderated alert

No preview available

This section provides links to web pages or resources that are not part of the SSA Space Weather Network or esa.int domain. These sites are not under ESA control, and therefore ESA is not responsible for any of the information or links that you may find there.  

Reference documents

  Choose Skin