Dr Alan Thomson

Dr Alan Thomson Head of Geomagnetism

Location: Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 6500 257

E-mail Dr Alan Thomson

Biography

  •  2008 :  Head of the Geomagnetism Team of BGS
  •  2001 :  BSc, Open University, Geology, Geophysics & Earth Science
  •  1991 :  Geomagnetism Group, British Geological Survey
  •  1987 –1991 :  Radar systems designer (Racal Defence Radar and Displays)
  •  1985 –1987 :  Radar antenna designer (Marconi Research Centre)
  •  1982 –1985 :  PhD, University of Edinburgh, Theoretical Particle Physics
  •  1978 –1982 :  BSc (1st, Hons.), University of Glasgow, Physics & Astronomy

Boards and committees

  •  2011 :  Chair of IAGA Division 5 (Geomagnetic Observatories, Data and Models), International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA)
  •  2011 :  Member of GeoRisk Hazards Commission (on behalf of IAGA) of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG)
  •  2005 –2009 :  Chair of the ESA working group on 'Ground Effects of Space Weather'
  •  2003 –2007 :  Chair of IAGA Working Group V-DAT (magnetic data and indices)
  •  2000 –2006 :  Advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA) and the International Standards Organisation (ISO) on standards in geomagnetic field models
  •  2000 –2011 :  Member of ESA Space Weather Working Team

Research interests

  •  Global and regional magnetic field modelling and magnetic source field interpretation
  •  Space weather and space climate and the geomagnetic hazard to technology

Skills

  •  Geomagnetism
  •  Geophysical inverse theory
  •  Mathematical and statistical analysis of time series data

Professional association

  •  2005 :  Chartered Scientist
  •  2004 :  Fellow of Royal Astronomical Society
  •  1998 :  Member of American Geophysical Union
  •  1986 :  Chartered Physicist and Member of Institute of Physics

Current projects and collaboration

  •  2011 :  Project lead on National Grid Geomagnetic Hazard project
  •  2010 –2013 :  BGS project lead on EU FP7 consortium project EURISGIC (European Risk from Geomagnetically Induced Currents)
  •  2010 –2012 :  NERC NCEO mission support grant for ESA Swarm satellite mission (with University of Liverpool)
  •  2010 –2013 :  Project lead for BGS on ESA Swarm satellite Level 2 Processing Project
  •  2007 –2009 :  Lecturer on Geomagnetism at Edinburgh University
  •  2006 –2009 :  Project lead for BGS in the NERC-funded Geospace collaboration

Published outputs

  • NERC Open Research Archive — Alan Thomson
  • Beggan, C and Thomson, A W P. 2011. Modelling of Extreme GIC in a simplified UK Power Network. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rep., OR/11/062
  • Lesur, V B F, Olsen, N and Thomson, A W P. 2011. Geomagnetic core field models in the satellite era, IAGA Special Sopron Book Series, Vol 5, Ch 11, Mandea, M.; Korte, Monika (Eds.) 2011, ISBN 978-90-481-9857-3, Springer.
  • Pulkkinen, A, Bernabeu, E, Eichner, J, Beggan, C, and Thomson, A. 2011. Generation of 100-year geomagnetically induced current scenarios. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, submitted.
  • Thomson, A W P, Beggan, C , Clarke, E, Dawson, E, Harris, T, Macmillan, S, Reay, S, Riddick, J, Shanahan, T, and Turbitt, C. 2011. Geomagnetism, Review 2010. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rep, OR/11/036
  • Whitley, T, M Füllekrug, M Rycroft, A Bennett, F Wyatt, D Elliott, G Heinson, A Hitchman, A Lewis, R Sefako, P Fourie, J Dyers, A Thomson, and S Flower. 2011. Worldwide extremely low frequency magnetic field sensor network for sprite studies. Radio Sci., 46, RS4007, doi:10.1029/2010RS004523
  • Clilverd, M A, C J Rodger, S Dietrich, T Raita, T Ulich, E Clarke, A W P Thomson, and A J Kavanagh. 2010. High-latitude geomagnetically induced current events observed on very low frequency radio wave receiver systems, Radio Sci., 45, RS2006, doi:10.1029/2009RS004215.
  • Maus, S, S Macmillan, S McLean, B Hamilton, A Thomson, M Nair, and C Rollins. 2010. The US/UK World Magnetic Model for 2010-2015, NOAA Technical Report NESDIS/NGDC.
  • Thomson, A W P , Baillie, O , Beggan, C , Clarke, E , Hamilton, B , Reay, S and Turbitt, C. 2010. Geomagnetism, Review 2009. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rep, OR/10/0290
  • Thomson, A, and Wild, J. 2010. When the lights go out. Astronomy and Geophysics, 51 (5). 23-24. 10.1111/j.1468-4004.2010.51523.x
  • Macmillan, S, Turbitt, C, Thomson, A. 2009. Ascension and Port Stanley geomagnetic observatories and monitoring the South Atlantic anomaly. Annals of Geophysics, 52 (1). 83-96.
  • Thomson, A W P, Clarke, E, Hamilton, B, Macmillan, S, Reay, S, Shanahan, T, and Turbitt, C. 2009. Geomagnetism, Review 2007-2008. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rep, OR/09/016.
  • Thomson, A W P, McKay, A, and Viljannen, A. 2008, A Review of Progress in Modelling of Induced Geoelectric and Geomagnetic Fields with Special Regard to Induced Currents. Acta Geophys, DOI: 10.2478/s11600-008-0061-7.
  • Tritchtchenko, L, A Zhukov, R Van er Linden, S M Stankov, N Jakowski, I Stanislawska, G Juchnikowski, P Wilkinson, G Patterson, A W P Thomson. 2007. November 2004 Space Weather Events Real-Time Observations and Forecasts.  Space Weather, doi:10.1029/2006SW000281
  • Lesur, V, S Macmillan and A Thomson. 2006. Deriving main field and secular variation models from synthetic Swarm satellite and observatory data. Earth, Planets and Space, 58, 409-416.
  • Thomson, A W P. 2006. Geomagnetic Hazard, in ‘An Encyclopaedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism’, eds D. Gubbins and E. Herrero-Bervera, 2006, Springer.
  • Thomson, A W P. 2006. ‘Light Skies at Night? Power Companies’ Fright!’ Planet Earth, NERC, Spring 2006.
  • Lesur V, Macmillan, S, and Thomson, A W P. 2005. A magnetic field model with daily variations of the magnetospheric field and its induced counterpart in 2001. Geophys. J. Int., 160, 79-88, 2005.
  • Maus, S, Macmillan, S, Chernova, T, Choi, S, Dater, D, Golovkov, V, Lesur, V, Lowes, F, Luhr, H, Mai, W, McLean, S, Olsen, N, Rother, M, Sabaka, T, Thomson, A, and Zvereva, T. 2005. The 10th-Generation International Geomagnetic Reference Field. Geophys. J. Int., 161, 561-565.
  • Thomson, A W P, McKay, A, Clarke, E., Reay, S, Baillie, O. 2005. Solar Wind Monitoring and Induction Modelling for Induced Currents (SWIMIC): Final Report, Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rep., CR/05/167 (110 pp)
  • Thomson, A W P, McKay, A, Reay, S, Clarke, E. 2005. Geomagnetic Disturbance Service for Scottish Power plc: Annual Report 2003-2004. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. CR/05/051. (40 pp)
  • McLean, S, S Macmillan, S Maus, V Lesur, A Thomson, and D Dater. 2004. The US/UK World Magnetic Model for 2005-2010, NOAA Technical Report NESDIS/NGDC-1.
  • Macmillan S and Thomson A W P. 2003. An Examination of Observatory Biases During the Magsat and Orsted Missions. Phys. E. Planet. Int., 135, 97-105, 2003.
  • Macmillan, S, Maus, S, Bondar, T, Chambodut, A, Golovkov, V, Holme, R, Langlais, B, Lesur, V, Lowes, F, Luhr, H, Mai, W, Mandea, M, Olsen, N, Rother, M, Sabaka, T, Thomson, A, and Wardinski, I. 2003. The 9th-Generation International Geomagnetic Reference Field. Geophys. J. Int., 155, 1051-1056.
  • Pulkinnen, A, Thomson, A W P, Clarke, E, and McKay, A. 2003. April 2000 Storm: Ionospheric Drivers of Large Geomagnetically Induced Currents. Ann. Geophys., 21, 709-717, 2003.
  • Thomson, A W P. 2003. Satellite Data Selection and Weighting for Core Field Modelling in the Presence of Estimated External Fields. Proceedings of OIST-4, 35-38, DMI Report 03-09, Danish Metrological Institute, Copenhagen, Narayana Press.
  • Thomson, A W P, and Reay, S. 2002. Improved predictions of solar and geomagnetic influence on the near Earth environment: Phase 2 Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. CR/02/125. (127 pp)
  • Thomson, A W P, King, J A, Clarke, E and Clark, T D G. 2001. Improved predictions of solar and geomagnetic influence on the near Earth environment. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. CR/01/162. (72 pp)
  • Macmillan, S, and Thomson, A W P. 2000. Main Field Modelling at BGS Using Ørsted Data. Proceedings of the 3rd Ørsted International Science Meeting in Grasse, France. Report CNES/DG/DCE/CE/EC No 2000-259, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, 75039 Paris cedex 01, France, May 2nd, 2000.
  • Olsen, N, Holme, R, Hulot, G, Sabaka,T, Neubert, T, Toffner-Clausen, L, Primdhal, F, Jorgensen, J, Leger, J-M, Barraclough, D, Bloxham, J, Cain, J, Constable, C, Golovkov, V, Jackson, A, Kotze, P, Lamglais, B, Macmillan, S, Mandea, M, Merayo, J, Newitt, L, Purucker, M, Risbo, T, Stampe, M, Thomson, A, Voorhies, C. 2000. O?rsted Initial Field Model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, No. 22, 3607 - 3610, November 2000.
  • Thomson, A W P. 2000. Improving the modelling of the geomagnetic main-field: Isolating the average ionosphere field in satellite data. Earth, Planets and Space, 52, 1199-1206
  • Clark, T D G, Clarke, E, and Thomson, A W P. 1998. GIC Risk Assessment for the National Grid: Geomagnetic Disturbances in British Isles. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rep. WM/98/28C. (74 pp)
  • Joselyn, J A, Anderson, J, Coffey, H, Harvey, K, Hathaway, D, Heckman, G, Hildner, E, Mende, W, Schatten, K, Thompson, R, Thomson, A W P and White, O R. 1997. Panel Achieves Consensus Prediction of Solar Cycle 23. EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. Union, 78, p211, 1997.
  • Thomson, A W P, Macmillan, S and Barraclough, D R. 1997. Geomagnetic Main-field Modelling with POGS Satellite Data. J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 49, 417-440.
  • Thomson, A W P. 1996. A Statistical Relationship Between Coronal Hole Central Meridian Passage and Geomagnetic Activity. J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 47, No 12, 1263-1275.
  • Thomson, A W P, Clark, T D G, and Clarke, E. 1995. Study on Forecasting of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity: Phase 2. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/95/16C. (189 pp)
  • Clark, T D G, Clarke, E, Firth, M D, and Thomson, A W P. 1994. Study on Forecasting of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity: Phase 1. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/94/22C. (160 pp)
  • Clark, T D G, Thomson, A W P, and Kerridge, D J. 1993. Forecasting F10.7 in the Short-Term: 2. Observations of Active Regions. Solar Terrestrial Predictions: Proceedings of a Workshop at Ottawa, Canada. eds., Hruska, Shea, Smart and Heckman. NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA, Vol. 2, 105-112.
  • Mugellesi-Dow, R, Kerridge, D J, Clark, T D G and Thomson, A W P. 1993. SOLMAG: An Operational System for Prediction of Solar and Geomagnetic Indices. Proceedings of the First European Conference on Space Debris. ESA SD-01, 373-376, 1993. ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany, April 1993.
  • Thomson, A W P, Beamish, D, and Riddick, J C. 1993. Rejection of Geomagnetic Field Variations by a Fluxgate Gradiometer. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/93/21C. (109 pp)
  • Thomson, A W P, Clark, T D G, and Kerridge, D J. 1993. Forecasting Ap in the Short-Term using Time Series Analysis. Solar Terrestrial Predictions: Proceedings of a Workshop at Ottawa, Canada. eds., Hruska, Shea, Smart and Heckman. NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA, Vol. 3, 269-283.
  • Thomson, A W P, Clark, T D G, and Kerridge, D J. 1993. Forecasting F10.7 in the Short-Term: 1. Time Series Analysis. Solar Terrestrial Predictions: Proceedings of a Workshop at Ottawa, Canada. eds., Hruska, Shea, Smart and Heckman. NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA, Vol. 2, 332-345.
  • Thomson, A W P. 1993. Neural Networks and Non-Linear Prediction of Geomagnetic Activity. Proceedings of an International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence Applications in Solar-Terrestrial Physics at Lund, Sweden. eds. Joselyn, Lundstedt, Trolinger. NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA, 133-138.
  • Thomson, A W P, Clark, T D G, and Kerridge, D J. 1992. Computer Algorithms and FORTRAN Programs for Forecasting Solar and Geomagnetic Activity in the Short-Term. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/92/19C. (150 pp)
  • Thomson, A W P. 1992. Neural Networks and Non-Linear Prediction Filters for the Ap Geomagnetic Index. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/92/33. (50 pp)
  • Clark, T D G, Thomson, A W P, and Kerridge, D J. 1991. A Review of Methods of Forecasting Solar and Geomagnetic Activity in the Short-Term. Brit. Geol. Surv. Tech. Rept. WM/91/23C. (152 pp).

Key papers

Thomson, A, E Dawson, and S Reay. 2011. Quantifying Extreme Behaviour in Geomagnetic Activity, Space Weather, doi:10.1029/2011SW000696, in press.

Hamilton, B, Macmillan, S, and Thomson, A. 2010. The BGS magnetic field candidate models for the 11th generation IGRF, Earth, Planets, Space, Special Issue on International Geomagnetic Reference Field — the eleventh generation. Earth Planets and Space, 62, 737-743.

Thomson, A W P, Gaunt, C T , Cilliers, P , Wild, J A, Opperman, B, McKinnell, L-A, Kotze, P, Ngwira, C M, and Lotz, S I. 2010. Present Day Challenges in Understanding the Geomagnetic Hazard to National Power Grids, Adv. Space Res., doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2009.11.023.

Thomson, A W P, Hamilton, B, Macmillan, S, and Reay, S J. 2010. A novel satellite data weighting scheme and a new global geomagnetic field model Geophys. J. Int., 181, 250-260, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04510.x

Thomson, A W P and Lesur, V. 2007. An improved geomagnetic data selection algorithm for global geomagnetic field modelling, Geophys. J. Int., 169, 951-963.

Lesur, V, Macmillan, S, and Thomson A W P. 2005. The BGS magnetic field candidate models for the 10th generation IGRF. Earth, Planets, Space, 57, 1157-1163.

Thomson, A W P, McKay, A J, Clarke, E, and Reay, S. 2005. Surface Electric Fields and Geomagnetically Induced Currents in the Scottish Power Grid during the 30th October 2003 Geomagnetic Storm, AGU Space Weather 3, S11002, doi:10.1029/2005SW000156

Beamish, D, Clark, T D G, Clarke, E, and Thomson, A W P. 2000. Geomagnetically Induced Currents in the UK: Geomagnetic Variations and Surface Electric Fields, J. Atmos. Sol. Terres. Phys., 64, 1779-1792, 2002.

Thomson, A W P. 2000. Evaluating Space Weather Forecasts of Geomagnetic Activity from a User Perspective, Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, No 24, 4049-4052, December 15, 2000.

Thomson, A W P. 1996. Non-Linear Predictions of Ap by Activity Class and Numerical Value. Pure Appl. Geophys., 146, No. 1, 163-193.

Research partners
  • Universities of Liverpool, Lancaster, Edinburgh; British Antarctic Survey; Finnish Meteorological Institute; Neurospace; Swedish Institute of Space Physics; Polar Research Institute, Russia; Geodetic and Geophysical Research Institute, Hungary; GeoForschungsZentrum, Germany; Institut du Globe de Paris; Danish Technical University; Catholic University of America, Washington; NASA/Goddard; NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre; National Grid; Scottish Power; European Space Agency; NOAA/NGDC