Scientific Colloquium
May 17, 2017, 3:30 p.m.

"Geomagnetically Induced Currents: Science, Engineering and Applications Readiness"  

Geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) flowing in long technological conductor systems such as power grids, pipelines and railway systems have become one of the main space weather concerns. The potential for widespread problems in operating high-voltage power transmission systems during major geomagnetic storms has prompted increasing international policy, science, industry and public interest in the problem. In the US, the latest high level attention on GIC and power grids is centered around regulatory action pushed forward by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and GIC-related elements of the Nation Space Weather Strategy and National Space Weather Action Plan.

In this presentation, I will provide a broad overview of the current status and future challenges pertaining to the science, engineering and applications of the GIC problem. Science is understood here as the basic space and Earth sciences research that allows improved understanding and physics-based modeling of the physical processes behind GIC. Engineering in turn is understood here as the “impact” aspect of GIC. Applications are understood as the models, tools and activities that can provide actionable information to entities such as power systems operators for mitigating the effects of GIC and government agencies for managing any potential consequences from GIC impact to critical infrastructure.

About the Speaker:

Dr Pulkkinen is currently Director of Space Weather Research Center (SWRC) operated at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr Pulkkinen received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Helsinki, Finland in 2003. Subsequently he joined the nonlinear dynamics group at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to carry out his postdoctoral research 2004-2006. Dr Pulkkinen's PhD and postdoctoral research involved studies on both ground effects of space weather and complex nonlinear dynamics of the magnetosphere-ionosphere system. 2011-2013
Dr Pulkkinen worked as an Associate Director of Institute for Astrophysics and Computational Sciences and as an Associate Professor at The Catholic University of America (CUA). At CUA Dr Pulkkinen launched a new Space Sciences and Space Weather program crafted to educate the next generation space weather scientists and operators.

Dr Pulkkinen has been leading numerous space weather-related projects where scientists have worked in close collaboration with the end-users. In many of these projects his work has involved general empirical and first-principles modeling of space weather and investigations of effects on manmade systems in space and on the ground. Dr Pulkkinen was awarded NASA Exceptional Achievement Award 2015 and The International Kristian Birkeland Medal 2016 for his efforts to address space weather effects on power grids.

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