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Swarm Ionospheric Polar Electrodynamics



At high latitudes the Earth's ionosphere is electrodynamically coupled to the magnetosphere and the solar wind via the Earth's magnetic field. We know that this coupling causes a wide variety of phenomena such as the aurora borealis, aurora australis, and occasionally intense heating of Earth's upper atmosphere via a frictional process known as "Joule dissipation". Several aspects of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling nevertheless remain poorly understood; these include how the electrically neutral atmospheric winds affect Joule dissipation as well as what processes are responsible for modifying the ionosphere's ability to carry electrical currents (conductivity).

The goal of the Swarm ionospheric polar electrodynamics (SWIPE) project is to create and disseminate the most advanced models of high-latitude Joule dissipation, ionospheric convection, and ionospheric conductances. These models will be based on measurements made in both hemispheres by the Thermal Ion Imager (TII) and the Vector Field Magnetometer (VFM) instruments carried by ESA's Swarm satellites, and will allow for manual specification of neutral wind fields to explore how various wind patterns affect Joule dissipation and ionospheric conductance estimates.

Project duration: May 2023 – April 2024. This project is funded by ESA via the Swarm DISC, Sub-Contract No. SW-CO-DTU-GS-131.



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