[Geomag-operations] Proposed elimination of the USGS Geomagnetism Program - update

Finn, Carol cafinn at usgs.gov
Tue Jul 18 20:15:47 UTC 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives has restored the cuts proposed by the
Administration to the USGS Geomagnetism program and other Natural Hazards

Of course the Senate still needs to mark up its proposed budget, and then
the House and Senate must reconcile, but this is an important first
indication of where Congress stands with respect to funding for USGS
natural hazards efforts.  And it is positive news!

Thank you all for your continued support of our small but relevant program.

Carol A. Finn, Geomagnetism Group Leader, cafinn at usgs.gov
Jeffrey J. Love, USGS Advisor for Geomagnetic Research, jlove at usgs.gov

On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 8:20 PM, Finn, Carol <cafinn at usgs.gov> wrote:

> The President’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, released May 23, 2017,
> proposes a cut in the budget of the Department of Interior, U.S. Geological
> Survey (USGS) that would, effective Oct 1, 2017, eliminate the USGS
> Geomagnetism Program (a $1.9 million/year program with 12 full-time
> equivalent employee positions and which supports the operation of 14
> magnetic observatories in the United States and Territories).
> Background:
> The USGS Geomagnetism Program is an integral part of the multiagency Space
> Weather Operations, Response, and Mitigation (SWORM) Subcommittee within
> the United States National Science and Technology Council. The role of the
> Geomagnetism Program in SWORM is highlighted in the bipartisan Space
> Weather Research and Forecasting Act (S. 141) that was passed by unanimous
> consent, in the United States Senate on May 2, 2017.
> The USGS Geomagnetism Program operates magnetic observatories that provide
> real-time, long-term data streams that are used by government, academic,
> and the commercial sectors for a wide variety of scientific and operational
> purposes. The Program’s observatory data are used for: (1) geomagnetic
> storm alerts that are widely used, including for protecting the Nation’s
> electric power grid, satellite systems, and other critical infrastructure;
> (2) products and services that support multiple Department of Defense and
> National Intelligence Community activities; (3) directional drilling for
> oil and gas; (4) geophysical surveys and geomagnetic field mapping.
> The USGS Geomagnetism Program conducts targeted research of importance to
> modern society. In recent years, Program research has been focused on the
> evaluation and monitoring of magnetic-storm geoelectric hazards that can
> interfere with the operation of electric-power grids. Projects include: (1)
> statistical maps of extreme-magnetic-storm geoelectric hazards; (2)
> real-time maps of geomagnetic variation across North America; (3) real-time
> maps of geoelectric fields across the continental United States; and (4)
> contributing to completion of the U.S. EarthScope magnetotelluric (MT)
> survey needed to evaluate geoelectric hazards.
> Impact:
> If the United States Congress accepts the President’s proposed elimination
> of the USGS Geomagnetism Program and if another source of funding cannot be
> found, Program research will cease, and the operation of all USGS magnetic
> observatories will be terminated.
> This means that there would be almost no reliable, real-time, open-access
> source for geomagnetic monitoring data for the United States and its
> territories. Long time series of geomagnetic activity, some exceeding a
> century in duration, would be interrupted.  This would, in turn, cripple
> the following data-derived products: (1) standard geomagnetic activity
> indices (Dst, Kp, AE) that are needed to issue geomagnetic storm alerts and
> model geospace; and (2) the International Geomagnetic Reference Field
> (IGRF) model that is widely used for navigation and research.
> The following would be adversely affected: (1) the USGS-led project within
> SWORM for evaluating geoelectric hazards of importance to the North
> American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Federal Energy
> Regulatory Commission (FERC); (2) operations of the 557th Weather Wing of
> the U.S. Air Force (USAF); (3) operations of the Joint Space Operations
> Center (JSpOC) of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD); (4)
> operations of the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) of the National
> Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); (5) numerous research
> projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the
> National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); (6) foreign-national
> geomagnetic projects, such as those of  the Kyoto World Data Center (Japan)
> and the GeoForschungsZentrum (Germany); (7) commercial sector services such
> as those provided by Space Environment Technologies, PingThings, Inc., and
> Computational Physics, Inc.; and (8) collaboration between the USGS and
> Schlumberger that supports directional drilling for oil and gas in Alaska.
> Carol A. Finn, Geomagnetism Group Leader, cafinn at usgs.gov
> Jeffrey J. Love, USGS Advisor for Geomagnetic Research, jlove at usgs.gov
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