Statistical Analysis of Solar Geomagnetic Storm Occurrences
| On the results page I have four
questions at the top. They were the backbone for our research and
The answers to these questions summarize our results very well. The first question is very important to the study. It is widely known that geomagnetic activity seems to peak at the equinoxes (however that was not confirmed at the start of the research). Our research confirmed that there are maxima within a few days of equinox.
The second question on the list was answered with a simple histogram. When the histogram was done on geomagnetic storms with Kp > 6, we found that March and April made a very large peak. However, September had the most elements. Therefore geomagnetic storms occur most during September, followed closely by March and April.
Very large storms became the focus of our research. Large storms (Kp > 8) happen fairly rarely, but when they do happen, they create havoc in the interplanetary solar wind and within the Earth's magnetosphere. In order to find out if they follow a pattern we ran a series of tests which looked at only geomagnetic storm elements with Kp > 8. We found that they occur in the same pattern that smaller storms occur, they have maximums at the equinoxes and minimums in December and January. However in doing this study we came across something very interesting, we found a large maximum in July. This maximum is only apparent for large storms but in running tests we confirmed that it is significant. The answer to the third questions is; large geomagnetic storms essentially follow the same pattern that small storms do, except for the maximum in July.
The final question on the list is probably the most important. Operating the radar is very expensive, so knowing the best time to do it is vital knowledge. In running many different tests on many aspects of the data we found the best time to start radar operations. We feel that the best time is 18-24 months following solar maximum during the month of March, April, July and September. These times have the greatest probability of producing storms. Unfortunately it is impossible to completely predict storm activity, but statistical studies like the one we performed help guide scientists.