System Earth changes continuously. Variations of Earth’s interior, the atmosphere, the oceans, and near-Earth space give rise to changes in global fields, particularly in Earth’s magnetic and gravity fields. The underlying processes can be identified and studied through monitoring and analysis of fundamental geomagnetic and gravity parameters. The main focus of this Priority Programme is to quantify terrestrial transport mechanisms and solar-terrestrial interactions. The research programme builds on data from satellites on low-Earth orbits, such as CHAMP, GRACE, GOCE, and Swarm, the latter being of particular importance due to its multi-satellite constellation aspect. Swarm was launched in November 2013, and its mission duration is expected at least until 2021. Within the Swarm mission, three identically constructed satellites are equipped with a complimentary set of instruments to survey global field variations and fundamental physical parameters. In order to improve the understanding of interconnections and coupling processes, proposers are encouraged to bring in further sources of information such as data from other satellite missions, ground-based observations, and empirical and physical models.
In the second phase, we particularly encourage multi-disciplinary approaches and projects that clearly link between two or more subtopics of the programme. Also, applications by university groups are encouraged. The Priority Programme’s subtopics are:
the geomagnetic field: study of its dynamics and evolution; analysing its different sources, including the Earth’s core, mantle induction, lithosphere, magnetosphere, ionosphere and oceanic currents; data analyses, empirical modelling, and geodynamo simulations
the gravity field: global variations of mass and mass balances, interaction and exchange mechanisms (hydrological cycle, ice melting in the polar regions, sea-level fluctuations, groundwater, relationship with anthropogenic influences, tides of oceans and atmosphere), length-of-day variation, and high-resolution models of the gravity field
the ionosphere/magnetosphere system: E-region ionospheric current systems and field-aligned currents at higher latitudes, coupling of the ionosphere and magnetosphere, contributions of ionospheric and field-aligned currents to the energy budget of the atmosphere, near-Earth verification of magnetospheric currents
the thermosphere/ionosphere system: quantification of solar contributions (EUV, solar wind) and influence of the lower and middle atmosphere (waves and tides) on the variability of the upper atmosphere, interaction between ionospheric plasma and neutral gas, E- and F-region ionospheric currents from high to low latitudes, understanding and predicting ionospheric and atmospheric irregularities from equatorial to polar latitudes including signal disturbances for communication and navigation systems
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