Joule heating effects on ionosphere-thermosphere coupling and neutral density (JOIN)


We study variations in the density of the upper atmosphere during geomagnetic storms by utilizing ESA's satellite missions and ground-based observation networks.


Project information

Project duration


Funded by

Other International

Project funder

European Space Agency

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Contact information

Project leader

Contact person

Project description

Understanding the detailed spatial and temporal dynamics of the space environment is a fundamental requisite for providing successful space weather forecasts, such as predicting changes in atmospheric drag experienced by satellites at low-Earth obits (LEO). In this project we will carry out a detailed investigation of the auroral Joule heating and its consequences on the ionosphere-thermosphere (IT) system at high latitudes. Our main objectives are to:

  • Determine the global statistical distribution and variability of the high-latitude Joule heating during geomagnetic storms driven by solar wind high speed streams (HSS) or interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICME).
  • Correlate the storm-time Joule heating with observed large-scale atmospheric density variations at low Earth orbits (LEO).
  • Estimate variations in the atmospheric scale height by directly comparing density measurements from two different altitudes during co-planarity periods between various LEO satellites at polar orbits.
  • Perform event studies of meso-scale Joule heating and density variations at auroral regions by utilizing conjunctions between Swarm satellites and incoherent scatter radars (e.g., EISCAT, EISCAT3D and Poker flat).

Project results

Reports and other project results will be collected in this folder as they become available. These include:
+ Project Science case from the pre-KO meeting

Manuscripts and presentations at conferences
Iorfida E., L. Küchelbacher, S. Wüst , W. Miloch, H. Vanhamäki, A. Dimmock, C. Finlay, I. Daras, R. Sabia, A. Strømme, L. Trenchi, M.G.G.T. Taylor, D. Prieto: "ESA Swarm 4D Ionosphere: outline of the five contributing studies". Swarm 10 Years Anniversary & Science Conference, poster presentation, Copenhagen, 8-12 April 2024.

Research groups