Studies of the Polar Ionosphere and Magnetosphere from Measurements in Antarctica

  • Weatherwax, A. T. (PI)
  • Rosenberg, T. J. (CoPI)
  • Lanzerotti, Louis J. (CoPI)
  • Lessard, Marc R. (CoPI)
  • Gerrard, Andrew (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project is a collaboration between scientists at four universities (Siena College The New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland, and the University of New Hampshire) to continue studies of the polar ionosphere and magnetosphere from Antarctica and magnetically conjugate regions in the Arctic. Magnetometer observations, high frequency (HF) cosmic noise absorption measurements (riometry) and auroral luminosity measurements will form the basis the investigations. The research efforts will involve extensive collaboration with other investigators using complementary data sets.

The project will operate magnetometers, imaging and broad-beam riometer, and 2-wavelength zenith photometers at South Pole and McMurdo Station in Antarctica. In addition the investigators will operate a monochromatic all-sky imager (ASI) at South Pole together with scientists from the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) in Japan. The project will also continue to provide the data acquisition systems at South Pole and McMurdo for the common recording of other geophysical data and the provision of these data to collaborating investigators. To enhance the usefulness and timeliness of these data to the general scientific community, web-based data portal will be upgraded so that the Antarctic data sets can be accessed in near-real time.

The overall objective is to understand the relevant physical processes that affect the flow of energy in the magnetosphere and high-latitude ionosphere. The project will improve our understanding of the internal and external (i.e. solar wind driven) plasma processes that control the flow of energy in geospace. Phenomena that will be studied under this award include magnetic storms, magnetic substorms, magnetospheric and ionospheric plasma instabilities, and energetic particle precipitation from the magnetosphere into the ionosphere.

The project provides opportunities for undergraduate students at the participating universities to be involved in scientific research that includes field work in Antarctica. The project also involves international relationships with science teams from Britain, Canada, Denmark/Greenland and Japan.

Effective start/end date11/15/074/30/14


  • National Science Foundation: $794,822.00


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