2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Application of the AGO network to energy transfer in the radiation belts and remote sensing of auroral plasma processes

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili


ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Paul Sullivan

Dr. James LaBelle (Principal Investigator)
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~spacephy/labelle_groupExternal Non U.S. Government Site

Dartmouth College
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Hanover, New Hampshire

Supporting Stations:  South Pole Station
Research Locations:  AGO sites

Project Description:
This project addresses questions about energy transfer in the Earth's radiation belts and auroral plasma physics. Energetic plasma interacting with the geomagnetic field in the near-Earth space (geospace) environment emits electromagnetic waves across the radio spectrum. Ground-based measurements of these waves are used as diagnostic tools to investigate various processes in geospace. This investigation takes advantage of an existing network of radio receivers at Automated Geophysical Observatory (AGO) sites located from -70° to -85° of invariant geomagnetic latitude and operating in the frequency range from extra-low to high frequencies. The Antarctic continent is ideally suited for these types of natural radio wave experiments since it is largely devoid of anthropogenic electromagnetic interference such as radio-frequency broadcast transmissions. The project will focus on studies of three geophysically important plasma waves: chorus waves, auroral hiss, and auroral kilometric radiation (AKR). Chorus waves are believed to be a major driver of radiation belt electron acceleration and loss. The auroral hiss and AKR waves are generated in the auroral acceleration region and have the potential to be used for remote sensing of this complex and poorly understood near-Earth region.

Field Season Overview:
This new research requires an upgrade to the existing LF/MF/HF receivers in some of the AGOs, and maintenance of the Stanford University VLF receiver at the South Pole. The digital receivers, antenna materials, and cables will be shipped to Amundsen-Scott South Pole station and AGO personnel replace the existing receivers with new equipment at the remote sites. Going forward, this project will be responsible for the Stanford University VLF receiver that was formerly maintained under Weatherwax A-111.

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs