Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group)

Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group)

Available online at ScienceDirect Advances in Space Research xxx (2019) xxx–xxx Space weather serv...

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ScienceDirect Advances in Space Research xxx (2019) xxx–xxx

Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group) V. Lanabere a,⇑, S. Dasso a,b,c, A.M. Gulisano b,c,d, V.E. Lo´pez a,e, A.E. Niemela¨-Celeda a a

Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmo´sfera y los Oce´anos, Intendente Gu¨iraldes 2160, Ciudad Universitaria, C1428EGA Ciudad Auto´noma de Buenos Aires, Argentina b CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto de Astronomı´a y Fı´sica del Espacio, Intendente Gu¨iraldes 2160, Ciudad Universitaria, C1428ZAA Ciudad Auto´noma de Buenos Aires, Argentina c Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Fı´sica, Intendente Gu¨iraldes 2160, Ciudad Universitaria, C1428EGA Ciudad Auto´noma de Buenos Aires, Argentina d Instituto Anta´rtico Argentino, Direccio´n Nacional del Anta´rtico, Av. 25 de Mayo 1143, 1650 San Martı´n, Buenos Aires, Argentina e Servicio Meteorolo´gico Nacional, Av. Dorrego 4019, C1425GBE Ciudad Auto´noma de Buenos Aires, Argentina Received 30 May 2019; received in revised form 8 August 2019; accepted 12 August 2019

Abstract Since more than one decade ago, several institutions started to offer a large variety of Operative Space Weather (SWx) products. This is of major importance because Space Weather events can affect aviation communications, global positioning systems, grid electric power, satellite technologies, and human health in space. The scientific potential on solar-terrestrial physics in Argentina motivated the creation of an interdisciplinary Laboratory of Space Weather in Argentina. The Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory (in Spanish ‘Laboratorio Argentino de Meteorologı´a del esPacio’, LAMP) was initiated in 2016, and it carries out daily monitoring of real-time information (space and ground-based instruments) on Space Weather. The information is synthesized on a weekly bulletin as a summary of the Space Weather conditions, and it is posted on a website ( The analyzed information includes own data and of other centers that offer them publicly, and it is also analyzed and discussed later on, during monthly briefings. In particular, one of the regional products that is included in the briefing discussions and it was developed by LAMP in collaboration with INPEEMBRACE, involves Vertical Total Electron Content (VTEC) maps in the Argentinean region. LAMP set up a Space Weather Laboratory in the Antarctic peninsula, in the Argentine Marambio base, where a Water Cherenkov radiation Detector (WCD) was installed during the Argentinean Antarctic campaign (January-March of 2019). This detector is the southern node of a Latin American Collaboration (LAGO, Latin American Giant Observatory), which is a network of WCDs installed throughout more than 10 Latin American countries. Ó 2019 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Space weather; Research to operations; The sun; The interplanetary medium; The magnetosphere; The ionosphere

1. Introduction Space Weather events produce disturbances in the Earth environment that can affect space and ground-based

technologies. It is now well understood that Space Weather represents a significant threat on navigation, communications and human-health in space. Different economic sectors are more o less affected depending on the technology associated, the time of exposure and the strength of the event.

⇑ Corresponding author.

E-mail address: [email protected] (V. Lanabere). 0273-1177/Ó 2019 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article as: V. Lanabere, S. Dasso, A. M. Gulisano et al., Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group), Advances in Space Research,


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Several socioeconomic studies were done to quantify the impact of severe Space Weather events. For example, Oughton et al. (2017) explored the potential costs associated with failure in the electricity transmission infrastructure in the U.S. due to extreme Space Weather. A review of the estimated economic impacts in different sectors is detailed in Eastwood et al. (2017). Several international institutions, as for instance the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), have began to develop programs and activities on Space Weather, some of them with the aim of having answers to the negative effects of extreme Space Weather events. However, one of the main open questions to become aware of the seriousness of these risks is how frequent are the most extreme events. The study of the behaviour of the tail of the distribution function (TDF) of some critical physical quantities associated with extreme events can help to get closer to this answer. For instance, to study the TDF of the flux of energetic particles at given regions in the space is of major interest for the specific design of satellites and for the development of modern technologies (e.g. Ruzmaikin et al., 2011; Elvidge and Angling, 2018; Lanabere and Dasso, 2018). The number of countries that carries out Operative Space Weather (SWx) activities in the world has been growing significantly in recent years. On an effort to preserve regional monitoring and research for understanding the local effects of Space Weather, Brazil developed the Brazilian Study and Monitoring of Space Weather (Embrace/INPE) Program. Also, Mexico set the establishment of Mexican Space Weather Service (SCiESMEX) (Gonzalez-Esparza et al., 2017). Other Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile and Peru´, also present interest in Space Weather research and have begun the path to develop Space Weather programs or services. A detailed description about the beginning of space research in Latin America, the institutions developing them at the present, and a full set of instruments available for Space Weather studies can be found at Denardini et al. (2016a,b) respectively. In particular in Argentina at the present, there are many groups with different expertise for Space Weather research at different universities or research institutions. Since 2014, Argentina has started to participate in the recently created Space Weather panel of COSPAR (Committee on SPAce Research). As of 2015, the Argentine space science community through the national meteorological service (in Spanish Servicio Meteorolgico Nacional, SMN), started to participate with a representative in the WMO/ICTSW (Interprogramme Coordination Team on Space Weather), which after WMO adopted in 2016 the ‘‘Four-year plan for Space Weather related activities”, migrated to the WMO-IPT-SWeISS (Inter-Programme Team on Space Weather Information, Systems and Services). Recently, in November 2016, the risk commission

of the Ministry of Science of Argentina included extreme Space Weather events as risky for transmission electric power systems, in the frame of threats of natural origin. For a review of the initiatives of the Argentinean Space Weather Regional Warning Centers see Denardini et al. (2016). Argentina, as a country with a society using different modern technologies that are vulnerable to Space Weather extreme conditions (e.g., technologies linked with space as geo-localization systems or HF communication in commercial or military planes), has strong reasons to produce and consume, improve and reinforce Space Weather capabilities. The fact that the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly (SAMA) core is close to the north of Argentina, the fact that Argentina has currently communication satellites at geostationary orbit (ARSAT-1 and ARSAT-2) and Earth observation satellites (SAOCOM 1A), are just two obvious examples that illustrate this necessity. Thus, these are a natural demand that can be covered by the creation of a national operative Space Weather service or program. As one of the academic and prototype operative reaction to this national demand in Argentina, in 2016 was created the Argentina Space Weather Laboratory (LAMP, from its acronym in Spanish: Laboratorio Argentino de Meteorologı´a del esPacio). LAMP is an inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary group mainly dedicated to Space Weather research, Space Weather capacity building (as for instance human resources formation), instrumental development, research-to-operations (R2O), and real-time monitoring of SW conditions. In this work, we present the activities on Space Weather developed in Argentina by LAMP. A description of all LAMP activities is described in Section 2. A detailed enumeration of the operative Space Weather activities is made in Section 3. In Section 4 we describe and depict the weekly bulletins and monthly briefings developed and published by LAMP in its operative website. Finally, in Section 5 we present the summary and conclusions on this paper. 2. LAMP The Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory (LAMP) is integrated by researchers and grad students, mainly from physics and atmospheric sciences. Its headquarter is at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), with its laboratory for developing Space Weather instruments at the Space Laboratory of the Instituto de Astronomı´a y Fı´sica del Espacio (IAFE, UBA-CONICET), and offices at IAFE, at the Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmo´sfera y los Oce´anos (UBA) and at Instituto Anta´rtico Argentino. The chart shown in Fig. 1 describes the collaborations, linkages and main activities carried out by LAMP. Members of LAMP participates at RAPEAS (Red Argentina Para el Estudio de la Atmo´sfera Superior) the Argentinean network for the study of the upper atmosphere, sharing knowledge and initiatives along other Argentinean research groups. It also participates in the

Please cite this article as: V. Lanabere, S. Dasso, A. M. Gulisano et al., Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group), Advances in Space Research,

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Fig. 1. LAMP main activities. Research, instrumental development and operative activities are shown. The chart also shows collaborations and linkages. Dashed boxes indicate Operative Space Weather (SWx) activities. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

Red Cientı´fico Tecnolo´gica para la Gestio´n del Riesgo de Desastres (Technological Scientific Network for Disaster Risk Management), the main role of our group in this network is to provide expertise respect to technological risks associated with extreme Space Weather events. Furthermore, it participates as member of the advisory committee of the argentinean magnetometry network, and thus it collaborate with the development of the National strategic plan 2020 including in it Space Weather issues. Given the interinstitutional nature of LAMP, their members connect different international forums and Institutions, for instance performing as Deputy Chief officer of the scientific standing group on the physical sciences at the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), including its participation on Space Weather research programs. It also participates at the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) Research and Application for Polar Environment (GRAPE) at SCAR. Our group participated as an Space Weather expert auditor, in the audits conducted by WMO-IPT-SWeISS to two of the centers that were proposed to provide Space Weather information services to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). These activities were the result of the consultation and adoption by the ICAO of Annex 3 - Meteorological Service for International Air Navigation Provisions for a New Space Weather Information Service for International Air Navigation. Different aspects of space physics and atmospheric sciences are linked with SWx, some of them are keys for understanding and to developing SWx products. Activities

of our group include researches on some of these space and atmospheric topics. The main ones are linked with the spatial structure and evolution of transients in the solar wind (e.g., ICME) during the Sun-Earth transit (e.g. Dasso et al., 2006) and beyond 1 AU (e.g. Gulisano et al., 2012), the interaction between the interplanetary medium and the magnetosphere (e.g. Dasso et al., 2009), cosmic rays and energetic particles, and how the flux of these particles in the geo-space can be affect by the impact of solar wind (e.g. Dasso et al., 2012; Lanabere and Dasso, 2018). We also work on some aspects of the interaction between energetic particles and different layers of the atmosphere and effects of geomagnetic storms on different regions of the ionosphere (e.g. Dasso et al., 2015; Correia et al., 2017) and on turbulence in the solar wind near Earth (e.g. Dasso et al., 2005; Matthaeus et al., 2016). LAMP members offer different Space Weather courses. These courses include grade and post-grade courses, given at UBA. Short and intensive courses of Space Weather were also given at UBA and SMN, these were special courses dictated specially for technicians and personnel of the aeronautical sector. Some of these courses are delivered in the frame of the region III of the WMO/Regional Training Centres (RTCs), where UBA and SMN are the main responsable institutions for Space Weather courses. LAMP also provides courses to other institutions such as courses on Space Weather activities in the Antarctic Marambio base, given for FFAA (Argentinean Air Force), and also training courses for army and navy regarding scientific activities in Antarctica.

Please cite this article as: V. Lanabere, S. Dasso, A. M. Gulisano et al., Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group), Advances in Space Research,


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The group has installed a Space Weather Laboratory in the Antarctic Peninsula during the last Antarctic campaign (January to March 2019), and installed there own instruments developed at the space laboratory of IAFE. In particular, a self-built Water Cherenkov Detector (WCD) was installed with the aim of monitoring particle fluxes at high latitudes. This particle detector is part of the LAGO collaboration. Some details of the Antarctic detector project, and preliminary studies of the Antarctic site, can be found in (e.g. Dasso et al., 2015). Also self-built atmospheric, a single band GPS receptor (to determine the time stamps of the observations), and magnetic instruments were installed. With the main aim of guaranteeing robustness and autonomous operation of the instruments at the laboratory, a system of acquisition, storage, and telemetry were developed and installed in this antarctic laboratory. An internet connectivity system was designed and installed, using special antennas for communicating the laboratory with the antarctic base, protecting it from prevailing winds and extreme temperatures conditions. It was also installed in the laboratory a thermal control system and an alternative transmission system providing real-time data transmission of operational data, with storage and data backup system for research purposes. Operative related activities started in 2014 with a program of courses on operative Space Weather. In 2015, the first service of Space Weather forecasting was created following the visit of the WMO representatives to Argentina, who aimed to stimulate and support the local development of Space Weather activities. The Argentinean Operative Space Weather website is currently hosted by DCAO1 and it comes from a collaboration between UBA and SMN. This website started to offer the first SWx products, offering information about the current conditions of the energetic proton flux arriving to the terrestrial environment, online information about the flux of radiation at two X-rays bands near Earth (observed by GOES) and information of the Kp index. Also, from a collaboration between DCAO and EMBRACE-INPE, a product showing the vertical total electron content in the Argentine ionosphere is also included in the portal. Since 2016, LAMP started to develop a daily monitoring of real-time information on SWx conditions, in particular, on solar conditions, conditions of the interplanetary medium, the magnetosphere, and the ionosphere. The information is analyzed by a dedicated LAMP member, a weekly bulletin is done as a resume of the Space Weather activity, and it is posted on the website. Finally, the information and physical processes occurred during the analyzed period are discussed later on, during monthly briefings. More information about LAMP Space Weather activities, research, members, outreach and location can be found in LAMP2 website.

1 2

3. LAMP operative Space Weather activities The SWx activities carried out by LAMP consist on a daily monitoring of different features of the Sun-Earth connection during a whole week per observer. In order to keep a characterization of the Argentine region, we include the monitoring of real-time data from instruments installed in Argentina shown in Fig. 2. These instruments belong to different institutions, and many of them offer their data on public websites. A list of the instruments, the location, and the responsible institution is shown in Table 1. Once the period of monitoring has finished, the observer must generate a bulletin with the most important features of the Sun-Earth connection which is published on the website of the group1. Finally, a discussion of the observations done during the whole month is discussed between all the observers. This process is shown in the upper dashed box in Fig. 1. Below we describe the main aspects of the analyzed solar-terrestrial system, which divided into four subsections: the Sun, the interplanetary medium, the magnetosphere and the ionosphere. In each subsection, we describe a brief definition of the analyzed signatures, the link to the importance for Space Weather, variables that can be used to detect activity/events, the instrument we use during our analysis, and the information that we keep for the final bulletin.

3.1. The Sun The Sun is the source for the exogenous Space Weather events. An appropriate observation of specific quantities

Fig. 2. Location of local instrument used by LAMP for the daily monitoring of Space Weather conditions.

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Table 1 List of instruments in the Argentinean territory and Argentinean Antarctic bases used by LAMP providing real time conditions of different features in the Sun-Earth connection. Instrument





Solar telescope Particle detector Magnetometer Magnetometer Magnetometer Magnetometer Magnetometer Magnetometer Ionosonde Ionosonde All-sky imager

El Leoncito – San Juan Marambio Antarctic base Pilar – Co´rdoba Orcadas – Antarctic Rio Grande – Tierra del Fuego S. M. Tucuma´n – Tucuma´n San Martı´n Antarctic base Belgrano 2 Antarctic base S.M. Tucuma´n – Tucuma´n Bahia Blanca – Buenos Aires El Leoncito – San Juan

31.8S 64.2S 31.4S 60.7S 53.8S 26.8S 68.1S 77.8S 26.9S 38.7S 31.8S

69.3W 56.3W 63.9W 44.7W 67.8W 65.2W 67.1W 34.5W 65.4W 62.3W 69.3W


gives us a panoramic view of the Sun conditions. The main signatures of the Sun that may be associated with important effects on Earth technologies are described below. 3.1.1. Active regions/sunspot Active region (AR) on the Sun correspond to areas where the magnetic field is perturbed. They appear as bright areas in X-ray and ultraviolet images of the Sun. As Sunspot is an area of the Sun where the internal magnetic field bursts through the visible surface and out into the corona, a Sunspot appear as dark areas on visible images of the Sun since they are colder regions than the areas around them. Usually, the powerful magnetic fields around sunspots produce active regions on the Sun. Active regions and sunspot are the principal regions where solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) originate from (e.g. Sauder, 2004; Wang and Zhang, 2008; Podgorny et al., 2013). The active regions can be detected from the analysis of a magnetogram, which shows the magnetic field on the photosphere and the polarity of the field lines. Active regions can be also detected with images of the solar atmosphere in multiple wavelengths. In particular, we monitor realtime data from the Helioseismic Magnetic Imager (HMI) instrument on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft. As ARs can evolve during a few solar rotations, it is important to assign them a number. This information is synthesized in the total number of observed ARs, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) AR number and the latitudinal location. 3.1.2. Coronal holes Coronal holes (CHs) are regions in the solar corona where the magnetic field lines of the Sun are open to the interplanetary medium. Because of the field lines configuration of CHs, it is easier for the plasma flow to escape toward the outer corona, and thus CHs present lower density and temperature than their surroundings. Coronal holes are a source of fast solar wind, producing High Speed Streams (HSS) and Co-rotating Interaction Regions (CIRs).

Alfve´n waves propagating outward the Sun were observed in high-speed solar wind streams and on their trailing edges (Belcher and Davis, 1971). However, there is evidence that slow solar wind coming from the boundary of coronal holes is also characterized by significant Alfve´nic structures (D’Amicis and Bruno, 2015). These Alfven´ waves can enhance substorm activity caused by the southward components of large-amplitude Alfven´ waves within the body of the corotating streams (Tsurutani et al., 1995). Coronal Holes can be detected as dark regions in EUV images of the Sun. We observe these structures from the analysis of observations from SDO. In particular, we use coronal hole segmentations performed by CHIMERA (Multi-thermal Emission Recognition Algorithm) (Garton et al., 2018). This algorithm uses data from the instrument   and 211 A.  AIA/SDO in the wavelengths of 171 A,193 A The information given by CHIMERA is synthesized into the total number of CHs, the position and dimensions of each one (i.e. the latitudinal and longitudinal extensions and, the covered area of the visible disk of the Sun, expressed in percent). We also analyze and report the dynamic of the Coronal Hole (i.e. growing or reducing in size) and the day where the CH passes throw the center of the solar disk. 3.1.3. Solar flares A flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released. As a consequence, radiation is emitted across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves at the long wavelength end, through optical emission to X-rays and gamma rays. The EUV photons released during a Solar Flare can produce increments of the Vertical Total Electron Content (VTEC) of the subsolar ionosphere by up to 30% in 5 min (Tsurutani et al., 2009). This enhancement in the TEC can absorb HF radio waves, producing HF radio black out communications. Furthermore, flares radiation can produce extra ionized layers in the ionosphere that affect the radio signals from GNSS satellites, so GNSS receivers can increase the errors on the estimation of geo-positions.

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Solar flares can be observed as sudden, rapid and intense variation in brightness in X-ray images of the Sun. Also, solar flares can be detected as a sudden increase in X-ray flux near Earth. We analyze observations of the X-ray flux made by GOES spacecraft. Flares are classified into different clases: such as A, B, C, M or X depending on their peak  X-ray flux near Earth. Each class has a in the band 1 to 8 A flux peak one order of magnitude greater than the preceding one, with X-class flares being the strongest classified by NOAA and having a peak flux of order 104 W m2. The bulletin contains the information of the total number of solar flares and then we discriminate the number into the classification. Finally the strongest solar flare observed in the analyzed period is reported. 3.1.4. Filaments Filaments and prominences are large regions in the Sun of very dense, cool gas, held in place by magnetic fields. As with AR, filaments or prominence eruptions can also be associated with CMEs (e.g. Gopalswamy et al., 2003; Schmieder et al., 2013). These structures can be detected with H a images from a solar telescope. Filaments appear as dark lines in the solar disk, meanwhile prominences are found in the limb as bright lines. We access to real time H a images from the H-Alpha Solar Telescope of Argentina (HASTA3). From this images we keep the number of filaments and the position. 3.1.5. CMEs Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are the most massive transient structures ejected from the Sun. As mentioned before, CMEs are associated with active regions or with filaments and prominences. Also, several studies show a correlation between CMEs and Solar Proton Events (e.g. Kahler, 2001; Gopalswamy et al., 2003, 2004) and between CMEs and solar flares (e.g. Andrews, 2003; Jain et al., 2010). Interplanetary manifestation of CMEs results into heliopheric structures perturbing the solar wind conditions (ICMEs). ICMEs have a strong magnetic configuration that can produce an important perturbation in the heliospheric conditions and planetary environments. In particular, they are an essential driver for geospheric storms. These structures can be observed with images of the solar corona above limb of the Sun in the visible spectrum (e.g. Howard, 2011). At the moment we use the images from the Large Angle and Spectrometric COronagraph (LASCO/SOHO). The bulletin keeps the information of the total number of CMEs ejected in the period, the start time of the CME eruption and if it is Earth directed or not. 3.1.6. Energetic particles: SPEs, GLEs and FDs Solar Proton Events (SPEs) occur when solar protons are accelerated to very high energies (> MeV). These acceleration processes can occur either close to the Sun during a 3

solar flare (e.g. Belov et al., 2005; Kurt et al., 2004) or at Coronal Mass Ejection driven shocks, in the corona or in interplanetary space (e.g. Kahler, 2001; Gopalswamy et al., 2003, 2004). According to the definition of NOAA Space Environment Services Center, a SPE is defined as an event with a peak intensity of >10 pfu (particle flux unit; 1 particle cm2sr1s1) for >10 MeV protons at 1 AU. Technology on board commercial airline operations can be affected by SPE events including avionics (electronic systems), communications and GPS navigation systems (e.g. Malandraki and Crosby, 2018). Also, the crew in high latitude flights and the crew on the deep space missions can be exposed to high levels of radiation. For example, Townsend (2005) presented a study of the equivalent doses and the potential biological effects on crew in deep space. SEPs can be detected with measurements of high energy proton flux (MeV) at the Earth environment. We use real time data of proton fluxes from GOES 15. Ground Level Enhancements (GLEs) are sudden increases in the cosmic ray flux observed by ground based detectors. There are many studies that relate GLEs to SPEs, specially with major SPEs that accelerate particles reaching several GeV. However, there was observed that some not so energetic SPEs were also accompanied by GLEs (e.g. Oh et al., 2010; Cliver, 2006). GLEs can be detected with measurements of the cosmic ray flux at ground level, as for instance the classical neutron monitors, muon telescopes or water cherenkov detectors. A Forbush decrease (FDs) is a rapid decrease in the observed intensity of galactic cosmic ray on Earth followed by a gradual recovery. The study of FDs is useful to understand ICME properties, for example Belov et al. (2014) studied the correlations of the FD magnitude to the CME initial speed, the ICME transit speed, and the maximum solar wind speed. Both GLEs and FDs are daily monitoring by LAMP using data from the water Cherenkov cosmic ray detector at the Argentine Antartic Laboratory in Base Marambio,4 its location can be seen in Fig. 2 and a more specific information can be found in Table 1. We report SPEs, GLEs and FDs in the energetic particles subsection of the bulletin, indicating the start time of the event and the time duration. 3.2. The interplanetary medium The interplanetary medium in calm conditions is mainly constituted by an almost radial solar wind flowing from the Sun, and the interplanetary magnetic field is being dragged out by the plasma, with a global field configuration similar to a stationary Archimedes spiral (e.g. Pro¨lss and Bird, 2012). Transient structures such as Cor-rotating Interaction Regions (CIRs), Interplanetary Mass Ejections (ICMEs) and shocks, can also travel throughout the interplanetary medium. Depending on the solar sources and 4

Please cite this article as: V. Lanabere, S. Dasso, A. M. Gulisano et al., Space weather service activities and initiatives at LAMP (Argentinean Space Weather Laboratory group), Advances in Space Research,

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interplanetary evolution, these transients can reach or not the geospace. 3.2.1. Solar wind: speed and Bz The solar wind is a stream of plasma, mostly composed by protons, that carry the magnetic field from the Sun into the interplanetary medium. The main plasma parameters required to characterize the solar wind are the density of protons, the temperature and the speed. Meanwhile, the magnetic properties include the intensity of the magnetic field and its components. Due to that the interplanetary medium and magnetosphere coupling is mainly controlled by the south (i.e., opposite to the geomagnetic field at equatorial latitudes) component of the interplanetary magnetic field near Earth (i.e., Bz < 0 in the GSM system) and the bulk speed of the solar wind (i.e., V), during the monitoring of the interplanetary conditions, we focus on Bz and V. Several models have been proposed to represent the interplanetary forcing to geospace activity (e.g. O’Brien and McPherron, 2000; Valdivia et al., 1996), following the seminal model of Burton et al. (1975), where the rate of energy injection to the ring current is expressed in terms of the dawn-dusk solar wind electric field (E ¼ VBz , for Bz < 0). Real time conditions of V and Bz in the interplanetary medium at 1 AU near Earth can be observed from in-situ measurements made by spacecrafts. We use data from the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) and the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecrafts. From the magnetic field data we identify periods where the south component of the magnetic field Bz is negative and lower than 5 nT. When this happens we pay special attention about if it is persistent or fluctuates around zero. For the solar wind speed we identify periods of slow solar wind (V < 400 km s1), or fast solar wind (V > 500 km s1), speed tendencies and the maximum value reached in the period. 3.2.2. Interplanetary structures: ICMEs, CIRs and shocks The monitoring of the plasma parameters of the interplanetary medium in combination with the observations of the Sun conditions described in Section 3.1 enables the observer to propose the presence of a transient structures such as a co-rotating interaction region (CIR), an Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejection (ICME) or an Interplanetary Shock. A CIR is formed when a stream of high-speed stream (HSS), originated in a CH at the Sun, overtakes the preceding slower solar wind. The interaction between these two streams forms a region of compressed plasma in the heliosphere, having a structure that inherits some global spatial structure originated on the combination of the solar rotation with the radial interplanetary flows. CIRs and HSSs are the drivers of major geomagnetic storms during the minimum of the solar cycle (Echer et al., 2013). This configuration produces an alternation between slow and fast solar wind that produces the CIRs. In the compression regions the plasma properties are characterized by an


elevated proton density and magnetic field strength, and an increase of the proton temperature (e.g. Tsurutani et al., 2006; Huang et al., 2017). ICMEs are the interplanetary manifestation of CMEs described in Section 3.1. The identification of ICMEs is usually based on specific patterns of change in several properties of the magnetized plasma: a stronger than ambient magnetic field, rotating large scale magnetic field, declining velocity, abnormally low proton temperature, and others. None of these features appears to be unique to ICMEs or by itself a sufficient condition to identify an ICME (Jian et al., 2006 and references therein). Shocks can be observed as a jump in the speed of the solar wind and jumps on the time series of proton temperature, proton density and total magnetic field. Depending on the sign of the jump in different variables, the shock can be classified into fast/slow and forward/reverse shock (e.g., see Echer et al. (2003)). The interplanetary structures described above are identified with data from DSCOVR and ACE satellites. In particular, we analyze the magnetic field, solar wind speed, proton density and temperature. The bulletin keeps the information of the date of the CIR, ICME or Shock passage. 3.3. The magnetosphere The geomagnetic field holds within it several distinct populations of charged particles, for example: plasmasphere, Van Allen radiation belts, plasma sheet and ring current. The combination of a highly conducting plasma and presence of electric fields in the magnetosphere allows electric currents to flow. As the magnetized interplanetary flow approaches the Earth, it interacts with the terrestrial magnetic field and perturbs some of the currents. Some of these perturbations can be detected by ground-based magnetometers and identified from many geomagnetic indices, based on these magnetometers. 3.3.1. Geomagnetic indices The global Kp index designed by Bartels et al. (1939) is a geomagnetic index obtained as the mean value of the disturbance levels in the two horizontal field components, observed at 13 selected, sub-auroral stations. Kp index ranges from 0 (low activity) to 9 (high activity). Geomagnetic storms levels according to NOAA geomagnetic scales start from Kp ¼ 5 (for G1, low geomagnetic activity) to Kp ¼ 9 (for G5, extreme geomagnetic activity). South American K index (Ksa) is a regional geomagnetic index developed by Denardini et al. (2015) based on measurements made by the Embrace Magnetometer Network. Ksa index as Kp index ranges from 0 to 9 and are associated with same activity convention, being Ksa more appropriated for characterizing the geomagnetic activity in the South American region. The Dst index is an index of geomagnetic activity derived from the horizontal component of the geomagnetic

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field measured by a network of near-equatorial geomagnetic observatories. Dst is a good proxy of the intensity of the ring current (e.g. Dasso et al., 2002). Gonzalez et al. (1994) classify the geomagnetic storms by its intensity into: strong storms for those with the peak of Dst (DstPeak ) such that DstPeak < 100 nT, moderate storms correspond to cases when DstPeak between 50 nT and 100 nT, and weak storms for those between 30 nT and 50 nT. For the bulletin, the information from the geomagnetic indices is summarised into the date and value of the highest value in each geomagnetic scale and the tendencies of the geomagnetic index during the monitored period. 3.3.2. Magnetometers During a geomagnetic storm, (i.e. Kp P 5) a set of magnetometers located in Argentina (see Table 1) is monitored.5 In particular, LAMP developed the full telemetry for the magnetometers of the IAA listed in the Table 1 to obtain daily access to the raw data. Also, local variations of the intensity and orientation of the geomagnetic field are analyzed during the monthly briefings. The aim of this monitoring is to compare local variations of the geomagnetic field in Argentina with both Kp and Ksa indices, and go forward on other possibles prototypes operative geomagnetic products. 3.3.3. Killer electrons in the outer radiation belt Killer electrons are the population of electrons with energies greater than 1 MeV trapped in the Earth magnetic field at a radial distance range 3–7 Re at the equator, forming the outer radiation belt. These very high-energy electrons are the main environmental hazard to Earth orbiting satellites. For example, MeV electrons can penetrate through spacecraft walls and through electronic boxes causing Single Event Upsets (SEU) in logic or memory circuits and catastrophic high-voltage discharges due to Deep Dielectric Discharges (DDD). The electron flux in the outer radiation belt can be detected with in situ particle detectors. In this case, we use real time data of electron flux with energies E > 2 MeV from Geostationary satellites (i.e. L ¼ 6:6). The peak intensity of electrons flux and the duration of exposure are reported in the bulletin. 3.4. The ionosphere The ionosphere is the ionized layer of the upper atmosphere that completely changes its electromagnetic properties. Reflection of radio waves occurs wherever the radio frequency reaches the local resonance frequency of the ionosphere. As the plasma frequency is proportional to the square root of the electron density of the ionospheric layer, it is of great importance to estimate the electron den5

Fig. 3. Example of one of the operative products: the map of Vertical Total Electron Content (VTEC) over Argentina. This example shows VTEC for the 08 of September 2017 at 01:25 UT. This product is reported in the LAMP SWx website. The color indicates the VTEC values and the dashed lines are the isolines of equal VTEC value every 20 VTEC units. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

sity of the ionosphere to con infer radio propagation properties in the atmosphere. The ionosphere electron density can increase or decrease during geomagnetic storms (see Fagundes et al. (2016) and references therein). Also, the ionosphere responds to Solar Flares (see Tsurutani et al. (2009) for a review). 3.4.1. F2 layer critical frequency The layer of the ionosphere that presents the highest electron density is the F2 layer and its critical frequency (i.e. the maximum frequency that a radio wave incident vertically can be reflected by the F2-region) is known as f0F2. Ionospheric critical frequencies present great importance for radio communication and the response of the ionosphere to radio propagation also depend on the solar wind dynamic pressure (e.g. Davis et al., 1997). These ionospheric disturbances can affect HF communications of great importance for military and civil aviation industry while passing through the dispersive ionosphere, and also the GNSS signals are slightly delayed or lost due to variation of electron content or due to the presence of ionospheric scintillation. For report ionospheric conditions in the bulletin, we analyze time series of the f0F2, estimated from ionograms located in Tucuma´n and Bahı´a Blanca6 shown as red points in Fig. 2. The bulletin keeps the information of the periods with values lower/greater than the monthly mean value. 6

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3.4.2. Total electron content Ionospheric Vertical Total Electron Content (VTEC) is the total number of electrons present along the local vertical column, per unit of column surface. This quantity can be derived from GNSS satellite data. Radio waves propagation is affected by the presence of electrons in the medium, the more electrons in the path of the radio wave, the more the radio signal will be affected. TEC is a good parameter to monitor for possible space weather impacts on satellite communication and satellite navigation. Estimations of VTEC map on Argentina using the Argentine Network for Continuous Satellite Monitoring (RAMSAC), with a spatial resolution of DLat ¼ 2:0 ; DLon ¼ 2:5 and a time resolution of Dtime ¼ 10 min, using a model from GNSS signals (Takahashi et al., 2016), is presented as a product in the LAMP web site (see Fig. 3). This product was developed in collaboration with EMBRACE (Denardini et al., 2016). Also, a realtime VTEC map for South America developed by Mendoza et al. (2019) is observed to complete the information. The bulletin summarizes the Argentine regions where fixed thresholds are exceeded and the duration of such events. 3.5. SW forecasts Real time prediction of solar wind density and velocity from Enlil model is available from SWPC-NOAA site. The forecast of ENLIL for the three days after the last day of monitoring is analyzed, together with solar and interplanetary observations, and an own forecast is constructed and reported in the LAMP bulletin. In particular, we summarize the predicted solar wind bulk velocity time profile, expected to reach the Earth environment for the following three days. The solar flare probability of C-class, M-class and X-class solar flare is analyzed from the MCSTAT method (see Gallagher et al., 2002; Bloomfield et al., 2012), MCEVOL method (see McCloskey et al., 2016) and SWPC-NOAA prediction. Each method provides a percentage of probability of occurrence, and we report a low (1–10%), medium (10–50%) or high (>50%) probability for these three different flare classes. Based on the 3-days forecast for geomagnetic storms reported by SWPC-NOAA, which involves the forecast of the value of Kp for the current day and the following two days, we analyze regional magnetic stations (see Section 3 and Table 1), and the south American index Ksa, and produce a forecast to include in the bulletins. Also, the probability in percentage of occurrence of radiation blackout level R1 or more and S1 or more is reported. 4. LAMP products The main operative product of LAMP is its weekly bulletin. The operative Space Weather activities carried out by LAMP for constructing the bulletin consists of a daily


monitoring of the Space Weather conditions. Monthly briefings and the development of new data products are also part of its operative activities. A detailed instructive was also elaborated with all the relevant information to follow in order to standardize the elaboration of weekly bulletins and briefings, made by different people of the group. The bulletins keep the most important features observed of the Sun-Earth connection, described in Section 3, during a seven days period. An example of the English version of the bulletin template is shown in Fig. 4. The weekly bulletin in Spanish is uploaded weekly in the SWx website. The structure of the bulletin was based on the same ones used for reporting classical meteorological information. The document header contains information about the period monitored and the person responsible during that week. Then, the bulletin is divided into five sections: Solar conditions, Interplanetary medium conditions, Magnetosphere conditions, Ionosphere conditions, and Forecast. The first four sections contain a subsection for a specific signature in accordance with the subsections described in Section 3. For example, the Sun Conditions section is divided into: Coronal Holes, Active regions, Solar Flares, Filaments, CMEs, and energetic particles, as shown in the left panel of Fig. 4. The same concept is applied for analyzing/reporting the interplanetary, magnetospheric, and ionospheric conditions. Finally, the forecast section gives a brief description of the Space Weather conditions for the following three days. The bulletin is a brief summary of the Sun-Earth conditions during a period of a week. Furthermore, when it is observed significant activity with potential impact on geomagnetic storms, radiation storms or radio blackouts, a message is sent to the members of LAMP by the member of the group that is monitoring the conditions. At present, we are planning to implement an E-mail alert system by subscription. We plan also to propose the inclusion of alerts coming from the weekly bulletins or some equivalent alert into the Disaster Management protocol. All the information used for the final weekly bulletin is reported and it is also saved in another document to be presented during the monthly briefing of the group. This activity is carried out by all the observers that participated during the last month, where a description and a discussion of the observations are done. This activity is of great importance because it allows the development of new ideas to improve the observations and to understand the most important physical processes. During the monthly briefings, new products are usually required to better understand the processes analyzed during the month. LAMP is working on the development of new products from the particle detector recently installed in Antarctica for the study of effects of space weather events on the flux of galactic and solar cosmic rays, i.e., Forbush Decreases (FDs) and Ground Level Enhancements (GLEs), respectively. Also, it is planned to incorporate to the daily monitoring products to analyze deeper ionospheric disturbances as plasma bubbles. Finally, a pro-

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Date: dd/mm/yyyy (start) dd/mm/yyyy (end) Observer: Surname


Date: dd/mm/yyyy (start) dd/mm/yyyy (end) Observer: Surname



Total number of ARs; NOAA AR number (approximate latitude)

Coronal Holes

Total number of CHs; position and dimension expressed in %; dynamic (growing or reducing size); day of passage throw the center of the solar disk.

Solar Flares

Total number of solar flares (); #A(); #B(); #C(); #M(); #X(); Strongest event


Total number of filaments or prominences, position

Coronal Mass Ejections

Total number of CMEs, date of ejection, earth directed or not

Energetic Particles

Date of occurence of SPEs (coming soon: FDs, GLEs) and time duration

Kp index

Date of maximum value, tendency

DST index

Date of maximum value, tendency

Ksa index

Date of maximum value, tendency

High energy electrons

Peak intensity and time duration


Identify periods where the data are over or below the mean value


Date and value of the maximum. Region where the maximum was observed


Solar wind

Solar wind evolution

Solar wind speed

Fluctuations, tendency, maximum value reached

Solar flares

Probability of occurrence expressed as a percentage for C, M and X solar flares

South component of the Interplanetary magnetic field

periods with Bz<-5nT, long time duration or fluctuations Geomagnetic storms

Expected Kp value (Geomagnetic storm level)

Interplanetary structures

Date, characteristics

Solar radiation storms

Probability of occurrence expressed as a percentage

Radio blackouts

Probability of occurrence expressed as a percentage

Fig. 4. English example of the weekly bulletin generated by the observer as a summary of the monitored period. The bulletin synthesizes the main Space Weather aspects observed during a period of seven days, and it is divided into five main sections: Sun, interplanetary medium, magnetosphere, and ionosphere conditions, and finally a 3 days forecast is presented.

duct associated with solar wind Alfve´nicity will be developed to better understand the effects on polar regions. 5. Summary and conclusions On this paper, we emphasized on the main operative space weather activities carried out in Argentina. A summary of all Space Weather products developed by LAMP is shown in Table 2 indicated as Operative. Products in process and planned are also listed. In this work we presented details about some products developed by LAMP, such as VTEC maps over the Argentine region, and focused on the weekly bulletin that is produced and posted every week on the website The bulletins are generated after a daily monitoring of the main features of the Sun-Earth connection. The aim of this bulTable 2 List of own Space Weather products created with algorithms and procedures developed by LAMP. Product




TEC map Cosmic Rays Bulletin Briefing Magnetometer Magnetometer Alfvenicity

Daily Hourly Weekly Monthly Daily Daily Hourly

Argentina Marambio Antarctic base Argentina Argentina San Martı´n Antarctic base Belgrano 2 Antarctic base Solar wind near Earth

Operative Operative Operative Operative In progress In progress Planned

letin is to synthesize the information into four sections: Sun, Interplanetary medium, Magnetosphere, and Ionosphere. The data used for the generation of the bulletin consist of real-time data from other centers and instruments installed in Argentina. Finally, we participate into monthly briefing to discuss and analyze the situation of the previous days and to improve into the products that are useful for Operative Space Weather. Space Weather activities in the world and in Latin America are growing faster during the last years, and there is a major demand from society due to their effects on modern technologies. One example of the answer to this demand is the imminent creation of international centers for Space Weather Services of information, to support to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the prevention of damages originated in Space Weather events. Thus, these Space Weather activities carried out by Argentina are part of a more general goal and is in the line of collaborating and increasing the Latin America Operative Space Weather activities. Acknowledgement The authors thank to the Embrace/INPE Program from MCTI. The authors also thank the institutions that provide real-time data from instruments in the Argentinean region: FACET-UNT/INGV, MPI/IAFE/OAFA, SMN/INTERMAGNET, IAA, and BU. The authors acknowledge par-

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