Community:Email 27sep12

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From Roman Makarevich (r.makarevich at on 27 September 2012.

Apply today for student awards to travel to Alaska in November 2012 to participate in the NSF-sponsored collaborative research project to study the magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere coupling at high latitudes.

AWARDS: Five awards of up to $2,500 are available to student investigators to take part in the campaign around November 7-24, 2012. The travel awards will be based upon the experiment proposal the students submit with their applications.

PROJECT SUMMARY: This coordinated campaign of observations and modeling will involve the Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar (PFISR), the Resolute Bay Incoherent Scatter Radar (RISR), a variety of optical instruments, the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN), the Homer Very High Frequency (VHF) radar, and the Global Ionospheric-Thermospheric Model (GITM). The ionosphere, thermosphere, and magnetosphere comprise a tightly coupled system at high latitudes. The ionosphere is the mediating element in this view, facilitating the transfer of free energy generated by solar wind-magnetosphere coupling into heat and bulk motion of the neutral atmosphere. This mediation occurs through electric fields, particle precipitation, diffusion, and field-aligned currents, agents that act collectively to structure the plasma density and composition within the system. Although elements of this system have been studied in considerable detail, their nonlinear interactions, and the global implications of these regional processes, remains poorly understood and inadequately observed. The electronic steering capability of PFISR offers a unique diagnostic to fill this gap. Using a dense grid of beams, a three-dimensional, time dependent view of the ion-neutral interactions can be developed. These results, in coordination with observations by common volume optical, and VHF and HF radar observations, allow access to system dynamics and system responses which were previously unobservable. The experimental campaign, involving twenty researchers from nine institutions, will be carried out over two winter seasons. The results will be used to address fundamental questions of the physics of the upper atmosphere and its coupling to the magnetosphere and the lower atmosphere, which have remained obscured for lack of key data. As a result, although it is understood that small-scale processes play critically important roles in this coupling, they have been difficult to include in quantitative models. The new information will be implemented in the GITM model validating the new understanding of the coupled magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere, and thereby providing enhanced simulation capabilities.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The basis for selection will be the proposals submitted. Applications will be ranked according to merit. Credit will be given for investigations with a well-defined question to be answered, a plan which offers a good chance of substantial results using the observations to be made during the campaign, and a potential to complement the project's goals as described above.

APPLICATION: To apply, send your CV, a brief letter of support from your research advisor, and a 150-word experiment proposal to Dr. Roman Makarevich at Review of applications will begin immediately.

LOGISTICS: Students will be responsible for organizing their travel and conducting their proposed experiments in Alaska. Travel expenses of up to $2,500 will be reimbursed after the trip. The UAF travel authorization form need to be submitted before the trip.

Dr Roman Makarevich Associate Professor of Physics Geophysical Institute UAF 903 Koyukuk Drive, PO Box 757320 Fairbanks AK 99775-7320

Phone: +1-907-474-7075 Email:

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