Report of the International Kp Index Service
at the Adolf-Schmidt Observatory Niemegk
of the GeoForschungZentrum Potsdam (Germany)
January - July 1997
The Adolf-Schmidt-Observatory Niemegk
of the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam took over the
responsibility for the International Kp Index Service on January 1, 1997 from
Institute of Geophysics of the
University Gottingen. This process took place
without any problems. The Adolf-Schmidt Observatory Niemegk is very thankful to Kevin Ivory.
The software packet, which he developed for the calculation and design of the tables and diagrams
is on a very high level. He thoroughly instructed and trained the staff of the Niemegk observatory
to continue the Kp Index Service with the same quality as at the University Gottingen.
At the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam the software package was adopted and installed at the
computer network of the institute. They use several platforms at the data center of the institute
in Potsdam for the purpose of e-mail,
WWW presentations. The main
calculations are carried out at a SPARC 5 workstation under Solaris 2.5 at Niemegk observatory,
which is connected to the data center in Potsdam. The tables and diagrams are printed at Niemegk,
where the preparation of the mailing material is also done. Presently 398 copies of the Kp table,
the musical diagram and the R9/C9 table are sent once per month to 300 recipients all over the
The International Kp Service offers several presentations via the Internet. Its WWW homepage can
be found from the homepage of the GeoForschunsZentrum Potsdam or the Adolf-Schmidt Observatory
Niemegk. Besides several descriptions the actual Kp table and the musical diagram can be displayed.
Also, the whole Kp series beginning in 1932 is prepared in several formats. Of course, the derived
indices as ap, Ap, Cp and C9,
the quietest days and the
disturbed days of every
month are available. All data can be inquired in different formats via FTP from the FTP server of
the GFZ, the University Gottingen and the
WDC for Geomagnetism Edinburgh, UK. Up to now
one diagram, the R9/C9 quasi graphic table is only available on paper. It is still made by hand.
Because of lack of time it is not presented also via the Internet. It is intended to be accomplished
at the next available opportunity.
Presently twice a month the Kp are calculated from the K numbers of the 13 Kp stations. The
tables are transfered by e-mail to 48 recipients. Immediately after the receiving of the K mumbers
of the last received Kp station the calculation process is started. The time delay of the sending
of the e-mails containing the Kp tables depends on the time point when the last Kp station has sent
its K numbers.
There is a discussion of increasing the computing grequency of activity indices. For the
Adolf-Schmidt Observatory Niemegk as the responsible and executing institution of the International
Kp Index Service this is no problem. We are ready to operate the Kp calculation procedure much more
frequently. We can imagine to do so once a week. We also see a possiblity to do it in maximum each
working day. In our opinion the frequency depends only on the necessity and the possibilities of the
Kp stations to send their K numbers just in time for a very high frequency. We would like to ask all
users of activity indices (not only Kp and derived indices): which frequency of computation is
necessary and which time delay of receiving the indices is acceptable? We think, this is the central
question. Depending on the answer, the Kp stations could be asked possibily to increase the
sending of their K numbers if necessary.
Unfortunately, once we confused the users of the Kp numbers a little bit. Because of several
wrong K numbers of Eskdalemuir observatory ( a timing error caused that) in February and March and
wrong received K numbers of Brorfelde observatory in May we had to recalculate the Kp numbers for
these three months. We apologize for this confusion.
By chance we have found in the Internet an activity index, which is also called "Kp". It is
offered by the Space Envrionment Center (SEC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) under "Today's Space Weather" very actual with a time delay of only a few hours, but only
the tree recent days are presented. All attempts to contact the responsible person, Captain Carter
Borst, Air Force officer, working in laision between SEC and the 50th Weather Squadron at Flcom Air
Base, did not have satisfactory success up to now. We tried to get information about the used
algorithm and the reason for the using of the name "Kp" for this index. We urge this Working Group
to recommend to IAGA that the name "Kp" be used only by the index introduced by
Julius Bartels and
now provided by Adolf-Schmidt Observatory Niemegk. Everybody can do and offer what he wants, but
the name "Kp" has to be protected.