Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

APL Researchers Now Able To Map Global Space Weather

Date:
December 20, 2000
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Summary:
Researchers can now simultaneously measure the magnetic and electrical fields over large areas of the ionosphere above the Earth's polar regions. This advance will allow greatly improved forecasting of global space weather and help prevent disruption of communication and power systems when electromagnetic storms strike.

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., (APL) are now able to simultaneously measure the magnetic and electrical fields over large areas of the ionosphere above the Earth's polar regions, providing the first continuous monitoring of electric currents between space and the upper atmosphere and generating the first maps of electric power flowing into the polar upper atmosphere. These advances will allow greatly improved understanding and forecasting of global space weather and help prevent disruption of communication and power systems when electromagnetic storms strike the nation.

Related Articles


The work, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, makes use of magnetometers carried on each of the 66 satellites of the Iridium System satellite constellation operating as a global satellite communications network. Circling the globe in 470-mile-high, polar orbits, they are providing continuous measurements of the magnetic fields above the Earth's poles. Scientists at JHU/APL have developed techniques to extract the signatures of electrical currents flowing between the atmosphere and space from the magnetic field readings. Maps of the electric current in space are then constructed in much the same way that normal weather maps are made from weather station readings.

At the same time, SuperDARN – the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network, a multinational network of a dozen radars spread around the poles to study the ionosphere, sponsored by NSF and NASA and led by APL scientist Dr. Raymond A. Greenwald – is bouncing radar signals off the same regions to measure the electric field and its minute-by-minute variations.

"By combining Iridium System and SuperDARN data, we're able for the first time to continuously map the powerful currents flowing between space and the Earth's upper atmosphere," says Brian J. Anderson, who leads APL's research effort. "This is a major achievement because monitoring this environment is extremely difficult due to its enormous volume, which can vary by a factor of 10 in one hour. The Iridium orbits are ideal for monitoring this big system because the current is funneled to the polar regions, where the satellites detect it."

Based on extensive experience working with magnetic field data from satellites, APL scientists were able to develop sophisticated signal processing techniques for automatically extracting needed signals from Iridium data so they could be combined in a useful way with SuperDARN data. "This was an essential part of the effort," says Anderson. "With so many satellites involved, any hands-on analysis of the data would have been impossible."

The maps of electrical current show dramatic shifts due to changes in the solar wind. These results will allow scientists to test computer models of Earth's space environment far more accurately and exhaustively than ever before. Preliminary maps of the power flow have revealed "hot spots" of energy flowing into the atmosphere at high altitudes, creating pockets of hot air that rise and create drag on spacecraft flying through them at altitudes below 300 miles.

"Timely, accurate space weather forecasts will give advance warning of electromagnetic storms that in the past have shown their ability to disrupt communications, degrade GPS accuracy, cripple electrical power grids, and menace astronauts, satellites and aircraft with dangerous levels of radiation," says Anderson.

Anderson presented his findings at the 2000 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Dec. 15. More information is available at http://sd-www.jhuapl.edu/constel_mag_science .

###

The Applied Physics Laboratory is a not-for-profit laboratory and division of The Johns Hopkins University. APL conducts research and development primarily for national security and for nondefense projects of national and global significance. APL is located midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in Laurel, Md.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "APL Researchers Now Able To Map Global Space Weather." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001219094232.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. (2000, December 20). APL Researchers Now Able To Map Global Space Weather. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001219094232.htm
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "APL Researchers Now Able To Map Global Space Weather." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001219094232.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new product line will debut April 30, but it&apos;s not a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Myanmar&apos;s second biggest city of Mandalay and heads for China&apos;s Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — To put a roof over their heads and help the environment, residents near Bogota are building houses out of recycled bottles and old tires. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins