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EOSS

ESA EOSS (EO Science for Society) is one of the EOEP (Earth Observation Envelope Programme) - 5 (2017-2021) core activities.

Characterization of IoNospheric TurbulENce level by Swarm constellation (INTENS)

Data from the Swarm constellation mission will help to investigate and understand how the physical phenomenon known as "turbulence" that can interfere and influence radio signals propagation and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), used for air and sea navigation and for the correct positioning with GPS (Global Positioning System). Turbulence can be described as a fluid motion characterized by the irregular and chaotic changes in flow velocity in contrast to a laminar flow.
This project aims to investigate the turbulent nature of the geomagnetic field and plasma parameters (electron density and temperature) in the ionosphere as recorded by the Swarm constellation during a period of 4 years (from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2018). Swarm measurements will give the opportunity to get a precise characterization of the different ionospheric turbulence regimes of the medium crossed by satellites on scales from hundreds of kilometres to a few kilometres, when considering low-resolution data, and from tens of kilometres to a few meters when considering data at the highest resolution. Ground-based observations from the SuperDARN network at high latitudes and the ENIGMA array at low-middle latitudes will complement Swarm data. The investigation proposed in the framework of the INTENS project with a duration of one year is an example of the excellent capability of Swarm data to provide new insights on the ionosphere-magnetosphere coupling.

More information about this project can be found at
https://eo4society.esa.int/projects/intens-characterization-of-ionospheric-turbulence-level-by-swarm-constellation/ and http://intens.rm.ingv.it/
This project is funded by ESA.

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Contribution of Swarm data to the prompt detection of Tsunamis and other natural hazards(COSTO)

The main objective of COSTO (Contribution of Swarm data to the prompt detection of Tsunamis and other natural hazards) project is to better characterize, understand and discover coupling processes and interactions between the ionosphere/magnetosphere, the lower atmosphere and the Earth's surface and sea level vertical displacements. Natural Hazards induced by tsunamis, earthquakes and volcano eruptions occurring mostly around the areas with large human population have caused tragedies resulting in death of many people during and after these violent events, as well as inevitable environmental devastation. The proposed research effort targets to tsunamis that are the result of earthquakes, volcano eruptions or landslides.
An early warning for tsunami occurrence, and especially an estimation of the amplitude of a tsunami is still a challenge. In the range approximately between 5 and 15 minutes, the waves generated at the sea surface associated with tsunami can reach ionospheric altitudes, creating measurable fluctuations in the ionospheric plasma and consequently in Total Electron Content (TEC). At an altitude of about 300 km, the neutral atmosphere is strongly coupled with the ionospheric plasma producing perturbations in the electron density (ED). These perturbations are visible in the TEC parameter calculated from the data acquired from dual-frequency GNSS receivers, as well as in the ionograms and resulting ED profiles.
The COSTO project team will exploit existing modelling techniques for the identification and tracking of Travelling Ionospheric Disturbances (TIDs). Our methods are based on data assimilation methods using empirical models as background. These models based primarily on GNSS and ionosonde networks observations provide maps either of the TEC or of the ED at various altitudes. The less dense is the observing network, the highest is the uncertainty, which is the case over the oceans. The ionospheric-based tsunami detection method is much more accurate when based on the availability of dense networks of GNSS receivers and/or ionospheric sounders. These networks are sufficiently dense in the land, but there is a sparsity of observation points over the oceans. We believe that the use of Swarm data can shall improve the detection capability, especially over the oceans where the tsunami occurrence is expected. Therefore, TEC and ED models will be upgraded with the ingestion of dual-frequency onboard GNSS and Langmuir probe (LP) data from Swarm satellites, and advanced value-added products for tsunami early detection will be proposed. In the COSTO project, we will attempt to assimilate Swarm in situ LP ED data and TEC data into ED maps calculated from the 3D-TaD model at various heights. Ingesting in situ ED data from Swarm in the grids of TEC and ED, as well as taking into account the topside slant electron content observations from the POD GNSS antenna, will provide significant improvement in the temporal and spatial resolution of the ionospheric maps. Therefore, we expect to be able to specify more accurately the characteristics of TIDs triggered by the tsunamis.
This is one of the main targets of the project: to ingest the Swarm ionospheric measurements in an evolved version of different algorithms developed by authors of this proposal to detect Medium-Scale TIDs (MSTIDs) related with tsunamis. We will also try to identify the typology of tsunamis that give rise of effects on the ionosphere, and those that do not and focus on different coupling processes and interactions between the ionosphere/magnetosphere and the lower atmosphere.

More information about this project can be found at
https://eo4society.esa.int/projects/costo/
This project is funded by ESA.

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Swarm+ Coupling High-Low Atmosphere Interactions: Ion Outflow

The Swarm+ Coupling: High-Low Atmosphere Interactions ITT Statement of Work (SoW) has highlighted the "compelling scientific problem" of "the least-understood causes of planetary winds," namely planetary outflows induced by "non-thermal (e.g., frictional heating, particle precipitation, wave-particle acceleration) processes."
The Swarm+ Coupling High-Low Atmosphere Interactions: Ion Outflow ("Swarm+ Outflow") project, which began in May 2019, centers on using Swarm spacecraft to tackle unanswered questions around non-thermal processes that lead to ion outflow. The project approach is as follows:

  • (i) Determine the conditions (eg., local time, solar wind/interplanetary magnetic field, hemisphere, season) under which 50-Hz magnetic field measurements and electron and ion density, temperature, and flow measurements made by Swarm spacecraft may be applicable for the study of energetic ion outflows;
  • (ii) Determine possible statistical relationships between magnetic field perturbations measured by Swarm magnetometers and ion upflows/outflows measured at altitudes above, near, and below those of Swarm spacecraft;
  • (iii) Validate and generalize previously published (e.g., Strangeway et al., 2005; Brambles et al., 2011) empirical relationships between electromagnetic perturbations and ion upflows in the Northern Hemisphere cusp region;
  • (iv) Pending positive statistical results, produce a roadmap for development and refining of a Swarm-based ionospheric outflow product.

This approach involves combining Swarm plasma and field measurements with measurements from a host of other instruments, including European Incoherent SCATter (EISCAT) radars, the Cluster satellites, and University of Oslo all-sky camera measurements.

More information about this project can be found at
https://wiki.uib.no/swarmoutflow/index.php/Swarm%2B_Coupling_High-Low_Atmosphere_Interactions:_Ion_Outflow
This project is funded by ESA.

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Swarm+ Coupling High-Low Atmosphere Interactions: VERtical coupling in Earth's Atmosphere at mid and high latitudes (VERA)

VERtical coupling in Earth's Atmosphere at mid and high latitudes (VERA) is a project in response to the ESA ITT "Swarm+ Coupling: High-Low Atmosphere Interactions" with the duration of sixteen months.
The weather of the Earth's upper atmosphere (90-600 km) is affected not only by the energy inputs from the Sun and magnetosphere but also by atmospheric forcing from below. The goal of the VERA project is to advance the understanding of vertical coupling processes, especially those connecting the ionosphere and the neutral atmosphere below. A special attention is paid to sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events, during which the middle atmosphere (10-85 km) is highly disturbed. The response of the ionosphere to SSWs has been previously studied for low latitude regions, where forcing from the magnetosphere is indirect and relatively small. VERA will assess the importance of vertical atmospheric coupling at mid- and high-latitudes using Swarm observations. Swarm's high precision magnetometers and its dedicated constellation for geospace research enable monitoring of inter-hemispheric field-aligned currents (IHFACs). The exploration of the Swarm IHFAC data, and comparisons with state-of-the-art numerical models can reveal how the inter-hemispheric coupling of the ionosphere can be disturbed by atmospheric forcing during SSWs. Also, the pole-to-pole measurements of the electron density by Swarm, along with the ionospheric data from ground-based radars and numerical simulations, will be explored for the possible influence of SSWs on the high-latitude ionosphere.

More information about this project can be found at
https://www.gfz-potsdam.de/en/section/geomagnetism/projects/vera-vertical-coupling-in-earths-atmosphere-at-mid-and-high-latitudes/
This project is funded by ESA.

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Swarm Investigation of the Energetics of Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling (SIEMIC)

Living Planet Fellowship research project carried out by Ivan Pakhotin.

Ivan's recent published work in magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling (MIC) using the unprecedented Swarm dataset has revealed that Alfven waves play a key role in MIC dynamics, with small scales carrying very significant amounts of energy. His recent preliminary work has further indicated that in fact most of the Poynting flux carried from the magnetosphere into the ionosphere appears to be carried by small-scale and mesoscale electromagnetic disturbances. This is in contrast to the state-of-the-art in the community, where low-pass filtering methods are routinely used to deliberately attenuate small and mesoscale FACs in an attempt to remove Alfven wave influence. This systematic exclusion of smaller scales leads to chronic underestimations of the energetics of MIC, which translates into uncertainty in the estimations of Joule heating when calculating magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere (MIT) energy transport. Indeed modern MIT models have been found to contain significant uncertainties, particularly in the area of Joule heating and Poynting flux, which is hampering modelling efforts to establish the energy budget for the MIT system for space weather forecasting.
This project is a direct continuation of Ivan's latest work, aiming to answer a single question: how much energy flows from the magnetosphere to the ionosphere at which scales into each hemisphere? His preliminary research has shown that, not only are Alfven waves and small scales extremely important for the energetics of MIC, but also it appears that energy input into the ionosphere may not be symmetric across hemispheres. A statistical study using Swarm electric and magnetic field data has shown consistently higher Poynting flux energy flow on the sunlit hemisphere if the spacecraft is in noon-midnight orbit. This contradicts the hypothesis that the ionosphere is a passive load where the only changes are due to conductivity differences. The interhemispheric asymmetry has been alluded to in recent modelling papers, but to the best of Ivan's knowledge there has not been a thorough statistical study on this based on spacecraft observations. Such a result would be a significant milestone in understanding MIT energy transfer as it would elucidate the physical nature of key processes which as of now are not well understood. The improved energy calculations considering smaller scales will serve as a valuable input to ionosphere-thermosphere models and studies, and will facilitate high-quality research in that field.

More information about this project can be found at
https://eo4society.esa.int/projects/siemic-swarm-investigation-of-the-energetics-of-magnetosphere-ionosphere-coupling/
This project is funded by ESA.

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The ionospheric signature of auroral and subauroral fast flows

Living Planet Fellowship research project carried out by William Edward Archer.

The European Space Agency Swarm satellite mission is advancing the cutting edge of ionospheric space physics. Combined high-resolution measurements of electron density, electron temperature, and electric and magnetic fields provide a robust picture of the electrodynamics of this energetic region. We will leverage the high-quality measurements of the Swarm satellites to advance our understanding of narrow regions of fast flow in the auroral and subauroral regions. These flows often exceed 1 km/s, span less than 100 km in latitude, persisting for several hours. The Swarm mission has already contributed significantly to the study of subauroral ion drifts (SAID) and Birkeland current boundary flows (BCBF). Both phenomena are scientifically relevant topics that are not fully understood. With this proposal, we will continue the study of these phenomena by leveraging newly available Swarm data products.

More information about this project can be found at
https://eo4society.esa.int/projects/the-ionospheric-signature-of-auroral-and-subauroral-fast-flows/
This project is funded by ESA.

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