Collaborative Research: Synoptic Geospace Systems Analysis Utilizing Instrumentation From South Pole And Mcmurdo Stations

Project: Research project

Project Details


The ionosphere-thermosphere-magnetosphere (ITM) region constitutes the Earth''s upper atmosphere that is part of larger Geospace environment, and ITM is a portal upon which the solar wind energy and momentum enter and impact the entire Geospace domain. Though space weather research over the past decade or so has greatly increased understanding of a wide variety of phenomena associated with the ITM physics, the sum of these individual processes occurring in Geospace does not replicate the rich diversity and scope of this complex region. Thus a more holistic approach to the ITM research is necessary, one that integrates clustered instrumentation at multiple locations to have a simultaneous look at the solar wind interactions within the entire Geospace system. This project will support studies of interrelated ITM phenomena observed at high latitudes through the coordinated and collaborative instruments deployed across Antarctica. Specifically, the project will focus on continued operation of a suite of geospace instrumentation currently deployed at both the South Pole (SPA) and McMurdo (MCM) stations. This suite has a sustained track-record of robust operation and community support: ground-based fluxgate and search-coils magnetometers, ELF and VLF receivers, imaging and broadband riometers, sky-looking optical systems, scintillation GPS receivers, and a number of other instruments. Data from this suite will be synergistically combined to study: (a) synoptic variability of the magnetospheric open-closed boundary (OCB) and associated cusp structures (utilizing fluxgate, photometer, and all-sky imager data); (b) simultaneous ELF whistler events at SPA and MCM and their relationship to ionospheric conditions (using ELF receiver, fluxgate, and GPS data); and (c) auroral and polar cap GPS signal scintillation occurrence, strength, and relationship with the ITM activity (using GPS, fluxgate, riometer, imager, ELF/VLF data). These particular topics are only a partial listing of the work that can, and will, be performed with the data obtained from these instruments, especially via established and planned collaborations with other geospace projects taking place in the Antarctica and at magnetically conjugate regions in the Arctic. These include (but not limit) the MCM lidar system, southern hemisphere SuperDARN radars, Fabry-Perot interferometers, balloon campaign, etc. The project will be utilizing (and also providing) data from/to in-orbit satellites, namely the THEMIS suite of spacecraft and recently launched RBSP spacecraft. This will make use of the ground- and space-based data to provide the science context to proposed observations and reveal new insights into underlying physics of the geospace phenomena. The project will train and educate young scientists, graduate, and undergraduate students.
Effective start/end date10/1/139/30/16


  • National Science Foundation


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