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Mapping auroral activity with Twitter

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  • Nathan Case
  • Elizabeth MacDonald
  • Matt Heavner
  • Andrea Tapia
  • Nicolas Lalone
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/05/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)3668-3676
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/05/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Twitter is a popular, publicly-accessible, social media service that has proven useful in mapping large-scale events in real-time. In this study, for the first time, the use of Twitter as a measure of auroral activity is investigated. Peaks in the number of aurora-related tweets are found to frequently coincide with geomagnetic disturbances (detection rate of 91%). Additionally, the number of daily aurora-related tweets is found to strongly correlate with several auroral strength proxies (ravg ≈ 0.7). An examination is made of the bias for location and time of day within Twitter data, and a first order correction of these effects is presented. Overall, the results suggest that Twitter can provide both specific details about an individual aurora and accurate real-time indication of when, and even from where, an aurora is visible.

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Copyright 2015 American Geophysical Union.