Who we are

The worldwide network of standardised neutron monitors is, after 50 years of operation since the International Geophysical Year, still the state-of-the-art instrumentation to measure primary cosmic rays in the (0.5-20) GeV energy range. These measurements are a uniquely sensitive tool in their energy range, and a necessary complement to space based cosmic ray measurements at lower energies. While hourly data become available after some time in a standard format through the World Data Centers, no unique database existed so far for high-resolution measurements, which were provided by the individual stations, in non-standardised formats, and with varying delays.

The Real-time database for high-resolution neutron monitor measurements (NMDB) was created by teams from 12 different countries. It was funded in 2008-09 by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme as an e-Infrastructures project in the Capacities section. NMDB pursues the idea that was behind the establishment of the worldwide network of neutron monitors in the 1950s: all neutron monitors operated in Europe and some neighbouring countries pool their data to make them available to scientists and other users.

This work included the updating of the connectivity between some neutron monitors at remote mountain sites and their home institution, the development of an affordable standard registration system, the establishment of a common data format, the development of tools for data provision, data representation, and data retrieval, and the provision of web-based data products. This resolves the problem of different data formats and for the first time allows to use real-time cosmic ray measurements for space weather predictions.

The data archive and the data products are accessible here: real-time data at 1 min time resolution for space weather applications, historical data over several decades for those who are interested in long term trends and correlations, as for example with parameters of the terrestrial atmosphere, event data for researchers in solar and heliospheric physics, and data products e.g. for institutions in charge of the monitoring the radiation exposure of aircrew. Whoever is interested will find public outreach information (in 12 languages) and training material as a help to learn and to teach physics using cosmic rays and NMDB.

Research Infrastructures INFRA-2007-1.2.1 - Scientific Digital Repositories