Working Group on Geomagnetic Data and Indices
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Minutes: IAGA 1997

On August 6, 1997 IAGA Division V - Working Group 2 (now V-DAT) met in Uppsala, Sweden. The Co-Chairs David Boteler and Susan McLean headed discussions on several topics including the merger of applications, indices, forecasting and data services. It was suggested that Task Forces be set up for each of the Working Group focus areas. A tribute was paid to Anich Berthelier, who died March 1997 and it was recommended Michel Menvielle replace Anich as co-chair for indices. This was approved and accepted. Other topics discussed and described in more detail below include the proposal to adopt a new Polar Cap (PC) index and the problem of "pseudo" indices. The Working Group proposed two Resolutions (see the IAGA Web for current Resolutions). For current information on the IAGA Executive Committee and Latest Resolutions, visit the IAGA homepage.

Task Force | Reports on Indices | Pseduo Indices | Resolutions


Task Forces were implemented for the four focus areas of the Working Group. The head of each task force and the current members are noted below. Information on the activities of each task force will be posted as it becomes available .

Task Forces:

  • Indices: Michel Menvielle (Leader)
    H. Joachim Linthe
    T. Kamei
    JJ Curto
    Oleg Troshichev
  • Forecasting: Alicia _de Gonzales (Leader)
    Toby Clark
    John Freeman
  • Data Services: Susan McLean (Leader)
    Susan MacMillan
    Don Campbell
  • Effects: David Boteler (Leader)
    Risto Pirjola

Reports on Indices were given by Kevin Ivory (Kp), Hans-Joachim Linthe (Kp), Michel Menvielle (ISGI and a indices), T. Kamei (Dst and AE), JJ Curto (Rapid Magnetic Variations), and O. Troshichev (PC). The Task Force on Indices will work with Dr. Troshichev to develop a report on the Polar Cap index by August 1998. The Task Force will forward the report to David Boteler for circulation to the community so action can be taken concerning the adoption of the PC index at the next IAGA. David will submit an item to the IAGA News expressing the intention of the WG-V2 to adopt the Polar Cap (PC) index as an IAGA index in 1999.


Problem of "Pseudo" Indices Several attendees expressed concern over the number of "psuedo" indices currently being computed and being referenced in the liturature. The official IAGA indices are produced by the institutes mentioned above, and nowhere else. The "label" of the real index should be reserved for official producers for funding reason. However, there are definate needs for estimated indices for real-time and near-real-time applications. In certain uses, other institutes are computing similar indices. The group agreed that these "psuedo" indices should be clearly labeled to avoid confusion with the actual indice. A resolution was proposed to add "est" to the label of any estimated indices computed, i.e. Kpest and Apest. The group also recommends that the "pseudo" indices not be referenced in reports or journals and we work to educate the public.


The following resolutions were submitted by the Working Group:

Resolution # 4.
IAGA, noting the effectiveness of the Polar Cap (PC) geomagnetic activity index for prompt characterisation of the magnetosphere, and recognising the great contribution of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) in producing and testing the preliminary PC index time series since 1977, emphasises that the usefulness of such an index is dependent on having a continuous data series and urges that all possible effort be made to maintain continuous operation of the stations contributing to this index, and to provide the PC-index to the international scientific community in near-real time via satellite data links.

Resolution # 5.
IAGA, recognising the value of preserving the uniqueness of the official IAGA indices, and noting that estimated values of these indices produced by independent agencies for operational use are becoming confused with the official indices, urges the producers of the estimated indices to clearly label them with "est" at the end of each index name to distinguish them from the official IAGA indices.

Resolution # 6. IAGA, recognising the importance of geomagnetic activity indices for characterisation and prediction of a wide range of geomagnetic phenomena, and noting the particular value of long time-series of such indices, thanks the staff of observing stations that contribute data, the organisations that produce, disseminate, and publish indices and the national funding agencies that support these activities.


The following other issues and concerns were discussed at the meeting.

Are the 'effects on technology' being left out of the IAGA version of "Space Weather"?
Forecasting is still apart of this WG - how can we be more active with other Divisions in IAGA involved in forecasting?
Recommend contined contact and work with Division III.

Sessions submitted for IAGA 1999

Session Convener Div/Assoc
Geophysical Hazards
Internal/External
Susan McLean
Co-Convener
IASPEI / IAVCEI / IAG /
Oceanography
Geomagnetic Observatory
Data Services & Indices
Dr. Linthe
Co-Convener
Div.-V
Space Weather Science,
Forecast & Effects
3 Day
David Boteler
Div. III / IAMAS

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