2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Aeronomy & Astrophysics

Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 00-03881
Station: McMurdo and South Pole Stations
RPSC POC: Jesse Alcorta
Research Site(s): McMurdo, South Pole

Riometry in Antarctica and conjugate region
Dr. Theodore J. Rosenberg
University of Maryland
Institute for Physical Science and Technology
Dr. Allan Weatherwax
Siena College Physics

Deploying Team Members: No Deployment
Research Objectives: The University of Maryland will continue studies of the polar ionosphere and magnetosphere from Antarctica and nominally conjugate regions in the Arctic. High frequency (HF) cosmic noise absorption measurements (riometry) and auroral luminosity measurements (photometry) form the basis of these investigations. However, research efforts also involve extensive collaboration with other investigators using complementary data sets.

Riometers measure the relative opacity of the ionosphere. Working at both McMurdo and South Pole, this group maintains and uses an imaging riometer system called IRIS (imaging riometer for ionospheric studies), broad-beam riometers, an auroral photometers. This group has helped to extend antarctic coverage by providing imaging riometers for the British Halley Bay and the Australian Davis stations. The instruments work synergistically with a number of other instruments that are operated at all of these sites by other investigators. They also 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, the data is made available in near real time on the Internet. Imaging riometer measurements will also be continued at Iqaluit, NWT, Canada, the nominal magnetic conjugate point of South Pole station.

Continuation of these activities will enable this group to participate in, and contribute to, several major science initiatives, including the GEM, CEDAR, ISTP/GGS, and National Space Weather programs. A primary focus of the analysis activities over the next year will include coordinated ground- and satellite-based studies of Sun-Earth connection events.

These disparate activities have the common goal of enhancing understanding of the relevant physical processes and forces that drive the observed phenomena, both internal (e.g. magnetospheric/ionospheric instabilities) and external (e.g. solar wind/IMF variations). From such knowledge may emerge an enhanced forecasting capability. Many atmospheric events can have negative technological or societal impact, and accurate forecasting could ameliorate these impacts

Field Season Overview:
No team members will deploy to Antarctica this season. Science technicians at McMurdo and South Pole stations will perform year-round maintenance, collect data, and send it to the principal investigators.