The Role of Electric Fields in Space Weather

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


The investigation of the response of the magnetosphere to the dynamic forcing by the solar wind is of particular interest in forecasting the impact of this driving on technological systems, both space and earth based. A particularly poorly diagnosed parameter in this respect is the electric field which is driven by magnetic reconnection. While we understand the fundamental processes we remain ignorant of the impact of enhanced electric fields in all areas of the magnetospheres, for example providing seed populations for other processes to create higher energy particle, creating changes in the density which affect spacecraft orbits, etc. The project will investigate the impact of the electric field measured in the ionosphere on technological system. The project will primarily focus on the analysis of measurements of electric fields measured by a variety of different systems from both space and ground and will also touch upon the use of numerical simulation in terms of improving our predictive capability. The data analysis will be based on existing data sets from (i) the ESA mission SWARM; (ii) the Cluster mission) and finally (iii) SuperDARN data set which consists of data from multiple observatories in the northern hemisphere. Although several data analysis methods exist to produce the global velocity field, and hence electric field, the student will investigate the most appropriate ways to bring together data from these different projects which come from different locations in the magnetosphere. This will require (i) determining the criteria for selecting intervals of interest; (ii) using these criteria to identify those intervals; (iii) and determining the format of the data products most appropriate from each data set. The subsequent modeling will consist of a set of trial runs to investigate the sensitivity of the model to the electric field variations, both in time and space.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504117/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2021
1787127 Studentship ST/N504117/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Alexandra Ruth Fogg