Solar Physics

, Volume 224, Issue 1–2, pp 407–422 | Cite as

The 1859 Solar–Terrestrial Disturbance And the Current Limits of Extreme Space Weather Activity

  • E. W. CliverEmail author
  • L. Svalgaard


It is generally appreciated that the September 1859 solar–terrestrial disturbance, the first recognized space weather event, was exceptionally large. How large and how exceptional? To answer these questions, we compiled rank order lists of the various measures of solar-induced disturbance for events from 1859 to the present. The parameters considered included: magnetic crochet amplitude, solar energetic proton fluence (McCracken et al., 2001a), Sun–Earth disturbance transit time, geomagnetic storm intensity, and low-latitude auroral extent. While the 1859 event has close rivals or superiors in each of the above categories of space weather activity, it is the only documented event of the last ∼150 years that appears at or near the top of all of the lists. Taken together, the top-ranking events in each of the disturbance categories comprise a set of benchmarks for extreme space weather activity.


Transit Time Rank Order Weather Event Geomagnetic Storm Current Limit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adem, J.: 1958, Results of the International Geophysical Year in Mexico, Report No. 1, 1479.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, J. H.: 1982, in Proceedings of a Workshop on Satellite Drag, NOAA, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, J., Frank, L., Sauer, H., and Reiff, P.: 1989, Eos, Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union 70(46), 1479.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartels, J.: 1937, Terr. Mag. Atmos. Elec. 42, 235.Google Scholar
  5. Bartels, J.: 1940, Terr. Mag. Atmos. Elec. 45, 339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bartels, J., Heck, N. H., and Johnston, H. F.: 1939, Terr. Mag. Atmos. Elec. 44, 411.Google Scholar
  7. Botley, C. M.: 1957, J. Brit. Astron. Assoc. 67, 188.Google Scholar
  8. Botley, C. M.: 1959, J. Brit. Astron. Soc. 69, 220.Google Scholar
  9. Carrington, R. C.: 1860, Monthly Notices Royal Astron. Soc. 20, 13.ADSGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman, S.: 1957a, Nature 179, 7.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman, S.: 1957b, Bull. Nat. Inst. Sci. India 9, 180.Google Scholar
  12. Chapman, S.: 1968, Prog. Math. 2, 1.Google Scholar
  13. Chapman, S. and Bartels, J.: 1940, Geomagnetism, Oxford University Press, London, Vol. 1, pp. 328, 335.Google Scholar
  14. Cliver, E. W.: 2004, Adv. Space Res., in press.Google Scholar
  15. Cliver, E. W. and Crooker, N. U.: 1993, Solar Phys. 145, 347.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  16. Cliver, E. W., Feynman, J., and Garrett, H. B.: 1990a, in R. J. Thompson et al. (eds.), Solar-Terrestrial Predictions, Leura, NOAA, Boulder, CO, Vol. 1, p. 348.Google Scholar
  17. Cliver, E. W., Feynman, J., and Garrett, H. B.: 1990b, J. Geophys. Res. 95, 17, 103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Coffey, H. E. (ed.): 1973, Collected Data Reports on August 1972 Solar-Terrestrial Events, 3 vols., World Data Center A, Report UAG-21.Google Scholar
  19. Dellinger, J. H.: 1937, Proc. IRE 25, 1253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dryer, M., Eviatar, A., Frolich, A., Jacobs, A., Joseph, J. H., and Weber, E. J.: 1975, J. Geophys. Res. 80, 2001.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. d’Uston, C., Bosqued, J. M., Cambou, F., Temny, V. V., Zastenker, G. N., Vaisberg, O. L., and Eroshenko, E. G.: 1977, Solar Phys. 51, 217.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ellis, W.: 1893, Nature 49, 30.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  23. Ellison, M. A., McKenna, S. M. P., and Reid, J. H.: 1961, Dunsink Obs. Pub. 1, 53.Google Scholar
  24. Feynman, J.: 1980, Geophys. Res. Lett. 7, 971.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Forbush, S. E.: 1946, Phys. Rev. 70, 771.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  26. Hale, G. E.: 1931, Astrophys. J. 73, 379.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  27. Hodgson, R.: 1860, Monthly Notices Royal Astron. 20, 15.ADSGoogle Scholar
  28. Jones, H. S.: 1955, Royal Greenwich Observatory Sunspot and Geomagnetic Storm Data, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, p. 79.Google Scholar
  29. Karinen, A. and Mursula, K.: 2004, Ann. Geophysicae (in press).Google Scholar
  30. Kimball, D. S.: 1960, A Study of the Aurora of 1859, University of Alaska, UAG-R109.Google Scholar
  31. Lanzerotti, L. J.: 1992, Geophys. Res. Lett. 19, 1991.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Li, X., Temerin, M., Tsurutani, B. T., and Alose, S.: 2004, Adv. Space Res. (in press).Google Scholar
  33. Loomis, E.: 1859, Am. J. Sci. Arts, 2nd Series, 28, 385.Google Scholar
  34. Loomis, E.: 1860a, Am. J. Sci. Arts, 2nd Series, 29, 92, 249, 386.Google Scholar
  35. Loomis, E.: 1860b, Am. J. Sci. Arts, 2nd Series, 30, 79, 339.Google Scholar
  36. Loomis, E.: 1861, Am. J. Sci. Arts, 2nd Series, 32, 71, 318.Google Scholar
  37. Mayaud, P. N.: 1972, J. Geophys. Res. 77, 6870.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  38. Mayaud, P. N.: 1980, Derivation, Meaning, and Use of Geomagnetic Indices, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., 1980, p. 76 ff.Google Scholar
  39. McCracken, K. G., Dreschhoff, G. A. M., Zeller, E. J., Smart, D. F., and Shea, M. A.: 2001a, J. Geophys. Res. 106, 21,585.ADSGoogle Scholar
  40. McCracken, K. G., Dreschhoff, G. A. M., Smart, D. F., and Shea, M. A.: 2001b, J. Geophys. Res. 106, 21,599.ADSGoogle Scholar
  41. McIntosh, D. H.: 1951, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys. 1, 315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Michie Smith, C.: 1910, Monthly Notices Royal Astron. Soc. 70, 23.Google Scholar
  43. Nagata, T.: 1966, J. Geomag. Geoelect. 18, 197.Google Scholar
  44. Neidig, D. F., Grosser, H., and Hrovat, M.: 1994, Solar Phys. 155, 199.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  45. Newton, H. W.: 1941a, Observatory 64, 82.Google Scholar
  46. Newton, H. W.: 1941b, Observatory 64, 161.ADSGoogle Scholar
  47. Newton, H. W.: 1942, Observatory 64, 260.ADSGoogle Scholar
  48. Newton, H. W.: 1943, Monthly Notices Royal Astron. Soc. 103, 244.ADSGoogle Scholar
  49. Newton, H. W.: 1949, Geophys. Suppl. Monthly Notices Royal Astron. Soc. 5, 200.Google Scholar
  50. Newton, H. W.: 1955, in A. Beer (ed.), Vistas in Astronomy, Pergamon, London, Vol. 1, p. 666.Google Scholar
  51. Nicholson, S. B. and Hickox, J. O.: 1946, Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific 58, 86.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  52. Rastogi, R. G., Rao, D. R. K., Alex, S., Pathan, B. M., and Sastry, T. S.: 1997, Ann. Geophysicae 15, 1301.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Richmond, A. D. and Venkateswaran, S. V.: 1971, Radio Sci. 6, 139.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  54. Silverman, S. M.: 1995, J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys. 57, 673.zbMATHCrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  55. Silverman, S. M. and Cliver, E. W.: 2001, J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys. 63, 523.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  56. Siscoe, G. L.: 2004, Adv. Space Res. (in preparation).Google Scholar
  57. Skoug, R., Gosling, J., Steinberg, J., McComas, D. J., Smith, C. W., Ness, N. F., and Hu, Q.: 2004, J. Geophys. Res. 109, No. A9, 102 10.1029/2004 JAO010-494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stewart, B.: 1861, Phil. Trans. 151, 423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Svalgaard, L., Cliver, E. W., and Ling, A. G.: 2002, Geophys. Res. Lett. 29, No. 16, 1029/2001GL014145.Google Scholar
  60. Svalgaard, L., Cliver, E., and Le Sager, P.: 2004, Adv. Space Res. 34, 436.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  61. Švestka, Z. and Simon, P.: 1975 (eds.), Catalog of Solar Particle Events, 1955–1969, D. Reidel, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  62. Torreson, O. W., Scott, W. E., and Stanton, H. E.: 1936, J. Geophys. Res. 41, 199.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  63. Tsurutani, B. T., Gonzalez, W. D., Lakhina, G. S., and Alex, S.: 2003, J. Geophys. Res. 108, No. A7, 1268 10.1029/2002JA009504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vaisberg, O. L. and Zastenker, G. N.: 1976, Space Sci. Rev. 19, 687.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  65. Vallance, J. A.: 1992, Can. J. Phys. 70, 479.ADSGoogle Scholar
  66. Willis, D. M., Stevens, P. R., and Crothers, S. R.: 1997, Ann. Geophys. 15, 719.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research LaboratoryHanscom AFBU.S.A.
  2. 2.Solar-Terrestrial Environment LaboratoryNagoya UniversityJapan

Personalised recommendations