Home » Technological and biological impacts

Category Archives: Technological and biological impacts

Current state and perspectives of Space Weather science in Italy

Papers from SWICo members

Plainaki Christina, Antonucci Marco, Bemporad Alessandro, Berrilli Francesco, Bertucci Bruna, Castronuovo Marco, De Michelis Paola, Giardino Marco, Iuppa Roberto, Laurenza Monica, Marcucci Federica, Messerotti Mauro, Narici Livio, Negri Barbara, Nozzoli Francesco, Orsini Stefano, Romano Vincenzo, Cavallini Enrico, Polenta Gianluca, Ippolito Alessandro

This paper presents a brief state-of-the-art in Space Weather science in Italy and discuss some ideas on a long-term plan for the support of future scientific research in the related disciplines. Italian teams contributed in the advancing of our knowledge on the properties and evolution of the Space Weather phenomena with observational campaigns from space and from the ground. Numerous Space Weather forecasting and now-casting modeling efforts have resulted in a remarkable add-on to the overall progress in the field, at both national and international level. The Italian Space Agency participated several times in space missions related to Space Weather; indeed, the development of new instrumentation for future Heliophysics and Space Weather space missions will be very important for the Italian scientific and industrial communities.

Space Weather phenomena resulting from the Sun-Earth connection and/or its interplay with the galactic cosmic radiation. Background figures are from NASA.

The Italian Space Agency aims to assess the possibility to develop a national scientific Space Weather data centre to encourage synergies between different science teams with interest in the field and to motivate innovation and new mission concept development. Alongside with the proposed recommendations, this paper also discusses how the Italian expertise could complement international efforts in a wider international Space Weather context.

Publication: Plainaki C., Antonucci M., Bemporad A., Berrilli F., Bertucci B., Castronuovo M., De Michelis P., et al., 2020, JSWSC, 10, 6. doi:10.1051/swsc/2020003. https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/abs/2020/01/swsc190014/swsc190014.html

The Great Aurora of 4 February 1872 observed by Angelo Secchi in Rome

Papers from SWICo members

Francesco Berrilli, Luca Giovannelli

On February 4, 1872, exactly 150 years ago, a great aurora was observed over a vast extent of the Earth. The aurora was also observed in Rome. In a pioneering work by Angelo Secchi, then director of the Observatory of the Roman College, there is the description of the multi-instrument observations carried out in Rome. An avant-garde work that describes what today we call an extreme event of Space Weather, an event with consequences on technological infrastructures on a planetary scale.

Artistic impression of the aurora over Rome on February 4th 1872

In a recent paper, we describe the main results of the observations and studies carried out by Angelo Secchi at the Observatory of the Roman College and described in his “Memoria sull’Aurora Elettrica del 4 Febbraio 1872” for the Notes of the Pontifical Academy of new Lincei.

Publication: Berrilli F., Giovannelli L., 2021, Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate, vol. 12. https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/full_html/2022/01/swsc210083/swsc210083.html

The Shipwreck of the Airship “Dirigibile Italia” in the 1928 Polar Venture: A Retrospective Analysis of the Ionospheric and Geomagnetic Conditions

Papers from SWICo members

B. Zolesi,  M. Pezzopane,  C. Bianchi,  A. Meloni,  Lj. R. Cander, and R. Tozzi.

On 25 May 1928, while coming back to the base in NyAlesund after having overflew the North Pole, the airship “Dirigibile Italia” shipwrecked on the ice‐pack in a region at about 400 km northeast of Svalbard Islands. Using a portable high frequency (HF) radio transmitter, survivors tried to send SOS messages and to establish a radio link with a ship closely anchored at King’s Bay, that is “Città di Milano” of the Italian Navy. All their attempts proved unsuccessful until a Russian radio amateur close to the town of Arkhangelsk about 1,900 km away succeeded in receiving the messages launched by the survivors and raised the alarm. This however happened only after 9 days of repeated radio‐distress transmissions.

Cover of the “Domenica del Corriere” issued on 23 February 1964.

This work provides a retrospective analysis of the ionospheric and geomagnetic conditions of those days to try to explain the HF radio communications problems experienced by the survivors. To this purpose, the International Reference Ionosphere model has been used, and early geomagnetic measurements have been analysed. We found that the HF transmission difficulties were associated with the “dead zone” of F‐region propagation but that they might have been exacerbated by solar and geomagnetically disturbed conditions of the days soon after the airship wreck.

Publication: B. Zolesi,  M. Pezzopane,  C. Bianchi,  A. Meloni,  Lj. R. Cander, and  R. Tozzi, The Shipwreck of the Airship “Dirigibile Italia” in the 1928 Polar Venture: A Retrospective Analysis of the Ionospheric and Geomagnetic Conditions, Space Weather, 18, e2020SW002459, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020SW002459

The ionosphere prediction service prototype for GNSS users

Papers from SWICo members

Sreeja Vadakke Veettil, Claudio Cesaroni, Marcio Aquino, Giorgiana De Franceschi, Francesco Berrili, Filippo Rodriguez, Luca Spogli, Dario Del Moro, Alice Cristaldi, Vincenzo Romano, Roberto Ronchini, Stefano Di Rollo, Eric Guyader, Angela Aragon-Angel

The effect of the Earth’s ionosphere represents the single largest contribution to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) error budget and harsh ionospheric conditions can impact seriously on GNSS system functionality, including integrity, accuracy and availability. With the growing reliance on GNSS for many modern technological applications, reliable ionospheric forecasts can contribute to the understanding and mitigation of the impact of the ionosphere on our technology based society.

Diagram of the IPS architecture

With this aim, the Ionosphere Prediction Service (IPS) project was set up to design and develop a prototype platform to translate the forecast of the ionospheric conditions into a service customized for different GNSS user communities. To achieve this overarching aim, four different product groups dealing with solar activity, ionospheric activity, GNSS receiver performance and service performance have been developed and integrated into a service chain, which is made available through an innovative and fully customizable web based platform. This paper provides an overview of the IPS project describing its overall architecture, products and platform.

Publication: Veettil, S. V., Cesaroni, C., Aquino, M., De Franceschi, G., Berrili, F., Rodriguez, F., … & Ronchini, R. (2019). The ionosphere prediction service prototype for GNSS users. Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate9, A41.