Geomagnetic Disturbance Scenario

The AER GMD Scenarios are the most advanced way to simulate geomagnetically induced currents and resultant impacts on electric grid systems.

Our GMD scenarios cover historical solar-induced geomagnetic storms and simulated extreme (up to 1-in-1000 year) storms.

A large solar storm could disrupt the electric grid and leave tens of millions of people in North America without power for several months, if not years, potentially costing trillions of dollars.

This scenario simulates the variations in surface electric fields across the U.S. and Canada that could occur during an extreme geomagnetic disturbance (e.g., Carrington-level). The electric fields vary based on ionospheric currents, ground conductivity, and coastal proximity.

The scenario shows 12 hours during the storm in one-minute time steps. Darker red colors indicate stronger electric fields. Arrows indicate the direction of the electric field at each location.

Geomagnetic Disturbance Video

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As the movie shows, ionospheric currents, ground conductivity, and coastal proximity are all combined to create physically realistic surface electric fields that vary in both space and time. Entire storm time-series or snapshots of peak electric field intensity over a large number (10-100) of extreme storms are available.

For more information, please contact us.

Resource Library

Solar Storm Risk to the North Am. Electric Grid
—By Lloyds and AER scientists Nicole Homeier and Lisa Wei. In Lloyds Space Weather Study, May 22, 2013.