Auroral Joule heating and its consequences - From global to regional scales
Understanding the dynamics of the space environment is a key task in the solar-terrestrial research. It's also a perquisite for providing space weather forecasts to protect vulnerable technological systems. For example, satellites at low Earth orbit (LEO) experience increased orbital decay during large auroral storms.
In this project we'll study auroral heating of the upper atmosphere, which is due to the Ohmic heating of electrical currents and the impact of energetic particles that create auroral emissions. In addition to global observation networks, we'll utilize two new research infrastructures being build in Lapland: the EISCAT_3D radar system measures the ionized plasma in the upper atmosphere, while a network of Scanning Doppler Imagers (SDI-3D) detects the motion of the neutral gas. These two new facilities, together with existing ground-based instruments and frequent overpasses by research satellites makes northern Fennoscandia the best place in the world to study aurora.