James M. Bono

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Devin Della-Rose, PhD


As the DoD's use of space and space assets increases, so does its need for timely and accurate predictions of space weather conditions. A good understanding of the data from satellites together with data from ground stations can help model and determine variations in the space environment. An accurate, real-time Disturbance storm-time (Dst) index would be a primary input into current and future space weather models The Dst index is a measure of geomagnetic activity used to assess the severity of magnetic storms. The index is based on the average value of the horizontal component of the Earth's magnetic field measured at four ground-based observatories. Use of the Dst as an index of storm strength is possible since the strength of the surface magnetic field at low latitudes is proportional to the energy content of the ring current, which increases during magnetic storms. Since ground-based magnetometers are not Air Force owned, development of a Dst index using the magnetometer from a DMSP satellite would remove the Air Force Weather Agency's reliance on outside Dst sources. This research presents a method to create a Dst-like index using the magnetometer of the DMSP F-15 satellite. The solar quiet signal was determined for this magnetometer, and the resulting "Dst" index was compared against the official World Data Center Dst for several magnetic storms. Statistical analysis was accomplished using the paired t-test which shows good agreement between the DMSP derived Dst and ground-based index. In all of the storms analyzed, statistical results; mean, standard deviation, confidence intervals, etc., were always an order of magnitude smaller than the presented factors for error.

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Meteorology Commons