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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

Magnetic pulsations and transients: the Sun-Earth connection and impact on the high latitude ionosphere

Alternative title: Magnetiske pulsasjoner: forbindelsen mellom solen og jorden og hvordan denne påvirker den polare ionosfæren

Awarded: NOK 2.1 mill.

The Sun is the major influence on the near-Earth environment. The Earths magnetic field forms a cavity around it called the magnetosphere which protects the Earth from the energy carried by solar particles and magnetic field (the solar wind). At high latitudes, the Earths magnetic field can connect to the solar interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). This connection forms a gateway between the two systems and allows solar particles and energy to stream directly into the Earths upper atmosphere. This influx of energy changes the atmosphere continuously inducing temperature and desnity changes and large current systems. The aurora borealis is one such signature of this energy transfer which occurs in the ionosphere (the atmospheric layers between 70 ~ 600km altitude). Waves in the Earths magnetic field are signatures of this energy deposition. By monitoring the characteristics and location of the waves on the ground it is possible to investigate the complex processes and interactions happening in the Earths ionosphere/magnetosphere system. The most intense wave activity at high latitudes is in the ULF frequency range(from fractions of mHz to few Hz). It is identifiable in ground based instrumentation such as magnetometers, optical equipment and radars. The project is a collaboration between reseachers in Russia, Norway and France and will use data from instruments across the polar regions to better understand these waves. In addition to basic research a new course will be developed aimed at Masters / PhD students. For more information see:

The project will combine the strengths of several research groups to investigate the phenomena of energy transfer into the Earth's ionosphere through Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) waves and transients. Examining the properties of the ionospheric changes and relating these to what is happening in the Solar Wind is of vital importance in understanding the coupled Sun-Earth system. The ionospheric changes can also effect radio and satellite communications, and can cause geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) in electric power grids. The project will seek to capitalize on the the specialist areas of each group. UNIS has a strong background in auroral experimental techniques utilizing a variety of instruments located at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO) in addition to a strong background in ionospheric radar techniques and operate an ionospheric radar system (SuperDARN) on Svalbard. IPE has a strong background in developing mathematical models and analysis techniques as well as experience of working with ground based instruments. IRAP has a strong background in data analysis techniques with satellite instrumentation (e.g. SWARM) and ionospheric radar systems (EISCAT). It also is developing an in-house ionospheric model which will be used in the project. PGI is responsible for instrumentation located in Barentsburg and Northern Russia, in addition to areas of research involving the effects of ULF waves on power grids. MSU has a strong background in data analysis of GNSS and GLONASS satelite data. The aims of the project are specified in the attached project plan but can be summerized: - 5 work packages (4 research and 1 education) - analysis of mutliple datasets from instrumentation across the Arctic regions - fieldwork visits to Svalbard - mini-workshops to be conducted at both UNIS,IPE, MSU and IRAP - joint presentations at international conferences and meetings - development of new Masters / PhD UNIS course and projects - student mobility between groups


INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research