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STSE Swarm+ Innovation Program

ESA STSE (the Support To Science Element) Swarm+Innovation Program is a programmatic component of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP).


Polar Cap Products (PCP)

In this project, Polar Cap Products (PCP) based on in-situ data from the Swarm satellites are developed. PCP will provide essential information on polar cap patches, which are an important element of space weather in the polar regions. PCP will allow establishing models for the space weather forecasting at high latitudes. The objectives of this project are:
(a) Automatic detection of polar cap patches and calculating the corresponding polar cap patch index;
(b) Estimation of the gradient drift instability growth time within the polar cap patch.
Polar cap patches are regions of enhanced plasma density in the ionospheric F region inside the polar cap, i.e., poleward of the auroral oval. The plasma density of polar cap patches is more than twice that of the background. Polar cap patches are convected over the magnetic poles from the dayside towards nightside.

More information about this project can be found at http://www.mn.uio.no/fysikk/english/research/projects/swarm/
This project is funded by ESA, Contract No. 4000114121/15/NL/MP.


Swarm for earthquake study (SAFE)

SAFE is a project to investigate, by means of data collected from satellites and from ground-based instruments, the phase preceding the great earthquakes with the aim to identify any electromagnetic signal from space. To achieve the scope, SAFE will study the preparatory phase of large earthquakes through the analysis of electromagnetic data from sensors on board the three satellites of ESA Swarm constellation in order to better understand the physical mechanisms involved. In particular, the project will study the coupling between the outer part of the solid Earth, the lithosphere, where the earthquakes occur, and the overlying fluid portion, the atmosphere. The objective is to capture the information exchanged between the two layers through the integration of the data acquired by the Swarm satellites with those collected by other satellites and by ground-based stations.

More information about this project can be found at http://safe-swarm.planetek.it/
This project is funded by ESA, Contract No. 4000116832/15/NL/MP.


Magnetic Tidal Signals and Their Use in Mapping the Electrical Conductivity of the Lithosphere and Upper Mantle

This project aims to use the magnetic fields produced from ocean tides to probe the conductivity of Earth's lithosphere and upper mantle. ESA Swarm constellation mission provides good spatial data coverage and gives the possibility of obtaining global images of 3-D mantle heterogeneities, especially in oceanic regions. The objectives of this project are:
(a) To investigate how sensitive tidal EM signals to conductivity changes at LUM (10-400 km) depths;
(b) To recover magnetic tidal signals from the Swarm magnetic data;
(c) To develop numerical schemes to use these magnetic tidal signals for probing the electrical conductivity at LUM depths;
(d) To constrain the LUM conductivity using tidal signals.

More information about this project can be found at http://www.epm.ethz.ch/research/tides.html
Project duration: April 2015 - autumn 2016. This project is supported by ESA.

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DISC Activities

Swarm DISC (the Data, Innovation and Science Cluster) is a consortium of expert partners with a project office at DTU Space.


Swarm-Aurora

The aurora is a unique manifestation of plasma processes in the near-Earth space environment. Swarm-Aurora was designed to facilitate and drive the use of Swarm in situ measurements in auroral science. Swarm-Aurora will build a bridge between the Swarm and auroral science communities. Swarm-Aurora (http://swarm-aurora.phys.ucalgary.ca) is a web-based tool which provides access to quick-look summary data for a large array of ground-based instruments, as well as Swarm in situ measurements. This web interface allows researchers to quickly and efficiently browse Swarm and ASI data sets to identify events of interest. Swarm-Aurora drastically lowers the barrier of entry to optical and swarm data, reducing the time needed to do a survey of Swarm and ground-based instruments for investigating auroral phenomena. We expect this project to form the basis of the next generation of data viewers and access protocols for auroral science. The platform is built to be scalable (to other instruments, both ground and in situ) and useable for decades to come.

More information about this project can be found at http://swarm-aurora.phys.ucalgary.ca
Project duration: 02 November 2015 - 02 March 2017. This project is funded by ESA via the Swarm DISC, Sub-Contract No. SW-CO-DTU-GS-016.


Multi-Approach Gravity Field Models from Swarm GPS

Although the knowledge of the gravity of the Earth has improved considerably with CHAMP, GRACE and GOCE satellite missions, the geophysical community has identified the need for the continued monitoring of its time-variable component with the purpose of estimating the hydrological and glaciological yearly cycles and long-term trends. Currently, the GRACE satellites are the sole provider of this data and the GRACE Follow On (GRACE-FO) mission aims to take over this role after December 2017.
This project aims at providing high-quality gravity field models from Swarm data that constitute an alternative and independent source of gravimetric data, which could help alleviate the consequences of the potential gap between GRACE and GRACE-FO, as well as the short gaps in the existing GRACE data.
Recently, the geodetic community has realised that the combination of the different gravity field solutions is superior to any individual model, and this project will exploit this fact and deliver to highest quality gravity field models, resulting from the combination of 4 different gravity field estimation approaches. Additionally, we intend to evaluate the added value of Kinematic Baselines (KBs) in the quality of the combined gravity field model. We will also determine the benefit of two different models of non-gravitational forces and the measured non-gravitational accelerations from Swarm-C to the quality of the gravity field models.

More information about this project can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/project/Multi-approach-gravity-field-models-from-Swarm-GPS-data
Project duration: September 2017 - September 2018. This project is funded by ESA via the Swarm DISC, Sub-Contract No. SW-CO-DTU-GS-111.


Climatological Model of the Polar Ionospheric Current Systems

This project will produce, validate and disseminate a new climatological model of polar ionospheric currents. The model, which will be based on magnetic field measurements from the Swarm constellation and from the CHAMP satellite, will provide polar maps of field-aligned and horizontal ionospheric currents. These maps will be expressed as continuous functions of solar wind velocity, interplanetary magnetic field magnitude and orientation, the dipole tilt angle, and the F10.7 index.
The model will represent a significant advancement compared to previous models mainly for two reasons:

  1. We will not impose any hemispheric symmetries, and we account for geometric distortions by the main magnetic field, so that currents in the two hemispheres can be compared precisely, and
  2. we co-estimate both field-aligned currents and horizontal currents directly from the magnetic field, without any assumption about conductivity or electric fields.

More information about this project can be found at http://klaundal.b.uib.no/
Project duration: September 2017 - August 2018. This project is funded by ESA via the Swarm DISC, Sub-Contract No. SW-CO-DTU-GS-113.

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ESA SSA SWE Activities

ESA SSA (Space Situational Awareness) SWE (Space Weather) is focusing on the monitoring conditions at the Sun and in the solar wind, and in Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere.


Swarm Utilisation Analysis (SUA)

Space Weather (SWE) describes the state and variations of the Earth's natural space environment that can adversely affect humankind and its infrastructure in space and on ground. One of the foremost aims of space situational awareness (SSA) is to provide rapid space weather services to society and industry. ESA's SSA programme develops a system to monitor and predict Space Weather and to disseminate information and alerts. Continuous monitoring of the space environment including fast processing of observations is the crucial prerequisite to any Space Weather activities. ESA's Swarm satellite constellation mission provides key observables of space weather such as precise magnetic field variations, ionospheric plasma drift, electron density, thermospheric density, GPS-derived total electron content, and ionospheric currents and irregularities. The Swarm SUA project evaluates the space weather capabilities of the Swarm mission and will be of highest relevance for other, as well as future LEO missions with similar instrumentation.

More information about this project can be found at http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/en/section/earths-magnetic-field/projects/swarm-sua/
Project duration: March 2016 - March 2017

Space Weather Products can be found at http://swe.gfz-potsdam.de/

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National Activities


Germany

DynamicEarth - SPP 1788

DFG ("Deutsche ForschungsGemeinschaft") SPP ("SchwerPunktProgramme") - DFG Priority Programme

System Earth changes continuously. Variations of Earth's interior, the atmosphere, the oceans, and near-Earth space give rise to changes in global potential fields, particularly in Earth's magnetic and gravity fields. The underlying processes can be identified and studied through monitoring and analysis of fundamental geomagnetic and gravity parameters. The main focus of this Priority Programme is to quantify terrestrial transport mechanisms and solar-terrestrial interactions. The research programme builds on data from satellites on low-Earth orbits, such as CHAMP, GRACE, and GOCE. Of particular importance is the multi-satellite mission Swarm. Variations of the potential fields can be measured across a broad spectral range of spatial and temporal scales. Other parameters can be analysed, as well as ground-based observations and modelling results, to complement the understanding of the system Earth. The key to successfully investigating the range of topics in this programme is a multidisciplinary approach. The focus of work will be on the following areas: Geomagnetic Field, Gravity Field, Current systems of the ionosphere/magnetosphere, Thermosphere/ionosphere.

More information about this project can be found at http://www.spp-dynamicearth.de/spp1788-dynamicearth/
Project duration: June 2015 - May 2018

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Other Activities


Swarm Data Quality Investigation of Field-Aligned Current Products, Ionosphere, and Thermosphere Systems (SIFACIT)

The project SIFACIT (Swarm Data Quality Investigation of Field-Aligned Current Products, Ionosphere, and Thermosphere Systems) focuses on the study of the Field-Aligned Currents (FACs) with the electric and magnetic field data measured by the Swarm spacecraft. The main goals of this project are: The development of a new Swarm FAC product based on the data collected by two or three Swarm spacecraft, together with an appropriate quality indicator. Another aim of the project is the investigation of the longitudinal gradients in the auroral region, and their impact on FAC closure. Further, Joule heating will be analysed in the auroral region on multiple scales, with Swarm data together with ground based data and simulation.

More information about this project can be found at http://gpsm.spacescience.ro/sifacit/
Project duration: August 2016 - August 2018


Swarm - Spherical Elementary Current System (Swarm-SECS)

The Swarm-SECS project (Swarm-Spherical Elementary Current System), applied to electric and magnetic field data measured by Swarm, allows a precise determination of the ionospheric currents, of the plasma convection and the Hall and Pedersen conductance. In particular, SECS consists of two parts: First, a feasibility study to develop a new Swarm data product based on SECS analysis of the high latitude magnetic and electric field data. Second, the development of a prototype tool for the SECS analysis of the magnetic field data collected by Swarm at middle- and low latitudes.

More information about this project can be found at http://space.fmi.fi/MIRACLE/Swarm_SECS/
Project duration: August 2016 - August 2018

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