Friday, 27 April 2012

Northern Lights photo of the week?

This week's Friday photo is, if you wish, a failure in Northern Lights photography. The all-sky camera of the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) has finally succumbed to the polar day, leaving us to "watch" Northern Lights using other-than-human eyes like magnetic data or EISCAT radars. While it is still a month to go before the sun does not set anymore at the southernmost EISCAT site, the lowest elevation of the sun is less then 10° below the horizon, which means that the nights do not get dark enough anymore for meaningful observations. At this time the snow is melting fast, and we are looking forward to summer.

Due to lack of new observations, we will publish some old, spectacular time-lapse movies now and again in this spot (Friday image), similar to the one published on 8th March 2012. So stay tuned.

With this, we wish all of you a very nice weekend!

Photo: SGO, Finland.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Science History: EISCAT Radars

The open access journal History of Geo- and Space Sciences intends to publish articles about the histories of coherent and incoherent scatter radars. The series has now begun with an introduction, and with three articles describing how EISCAT was established. Below, please find the references with links through with you can download the articles in PDF format.
Thanks go to Lars Eliasson of the Swedish Institute for Space Research for pointing us to the existence of these interesting papers.

The photo shows the Tromsø UHF antenna as seen from the roof of the transmitter hall (by Thomas Ulich).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Meetings in Copenhagen


This week there was a series of three consecutive meetings in Copenhagen, Denmark, all of which discussed EISCAT and EISCAT_3D -related issues.

Meeting of Host Organisations

First, on Monday, 17th April 2012, representatives of the organisations, which host EISCAT facilities, met for discussions on how to proceed with application for funding EISCAT_3D. The host organisations are the University of Tromsø (Tromsø site, EISCAT Svalbard Radar), the Swedish Institute for Space Research (IRF; Kiruna site, EISCAT Headquarters), and the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO), which is part of the University of Oulu (Sodankylä site).

The motivation for this meeting came from a recent meeting of the Nordic (Norway, Sweden, Finland) research councils on how to fund EISCAT_3D. The representatives of the research councils gave the indication, that co-ordinated applications for funding should be sent to all three research council. These applications will then compete with other applications and will be evaluated according to their scientific merit separately in each country. Deadlines are anticipated to be autumn 2012 (NO), April 2013 (SE), spring 2014 (FI), and autumn 2014 (NO). However, it is important to note that these proposals will be co-ordinated not only within the Nordic countries, but naturally with all EISCAT associates including China, Japan, the UK, and other interested countries. It is anticipated that a discussion on this can be held with representatives of all partners during the upcoming EISCAT_3D User Meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, 23-25 May 2012.

The reason for this timetable might be that the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has begun to review its Roadmap projects. Therefore it is timely to make the first steps towards construction in a manner suggested by the application deadlines of the Nordic research councils.

General Assembly Meeting

Secondly, on Tuesday, 18th April 2012, the General Assembly (GA) of the FP7 Preparatory Phase Project EISCAT_3D met. The GA is the highest decision-making body of the project. Only the GA can make decision on allocation of funds between partners of the project. In this sense, this meeting was very important, because the first project funding and auditing period of 18 months (1st Oct 2010 to 31st Mar 2012) is now complete, and it was time for a general review. Also, the GA decides on responsibilities regarding work packages. Below the GA, which meets typically twice per year, the Executive Board (EB) is responsible for more rapid decision making, which happens during the EB's weekly telephone conferences and during their quarterly physical meetings. We will report more on this meeting later.

Council Advisory Group

While the first two meetings this week centred around EISCAT_3D, this last meeting was an EISCAT meeting. The Council Advisory Group (CAG) consists of members of the EISCAT Council, which is the highest decision-making body of EISCAT. The CAG advises the Council and meets typically twice per year before Council meetings. In our mini-series of project internals, we will introduce the various committees of EISCAT and EISCAT_3D in due course.

With a photo of sunny Copenhagen, taken on Monday before the Host meeting, we wish all of you a very nice weekend!

Photo: Thomas Ulich.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

EISCAT Peer-Review Programme: deadline 1st May 2012

The EISCAT Scientific Association invites applications for observing time on the EISCAT facilities in 2012, by individual scientists, research groups, and consortia throughout the world on equal, competitive basis. This means that anyone can apply for radar time, independent of whether or not the applicant is from an EISCAT associate country.

While evaluations are merit based, in the case of two applications having similar merits in evaluation, preference will be given either to those applicants who are new to the EISCAT facilities, in order to enlarge the EISCAT user community and further more open access to the facilities, or to the applicant showing stronger educational impact in their proposal.

The present call is the second one for 2012. In total, 200 hours of experiment time are open for international, peer-reviewed competition, and are available for the use of any of the current EISCAT facilities. Roughly 25% of this time has been allocated during the first call.

Please refer to EISCAT's pages on the Peer-Review Programme at


and in particular to the definition of the call at


for more information.

The deadline for proposals is 1st May 2012 at 24:00 UTC.

If the Peer-Review Programme is continued in 2013, the first deadline for applications for radar time in 2013 is anticipated to be in early November 2012.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Call for Papers: International Conference on Substorms 11, Lüneburg, Germany

Lüneburg (DerHexer) 82
The 11th International Conference on Substorms (ICS-11) will take place in Lüneburg, Germany, from 2nd to 7th September 2012.

Never in the history of magnetospheric research have observational opportunities been more exciting to unravel the physical processes leading the most spectacular phenomenon in our planet's magnetosphere - the magnetospheric substorm. Four CLUSTER spacecraft and in particular the five THEMIS spacecraft as well as extended ground magnetometer arrays, ionospheric radar systems, and optical networks provide most detailed observations and data of the most complex dynamical feature of the magnetosphere.

During ICS-11 we are going to highlight the most recent results in substorm research. Topics covered aim at describing the substorm processes deeper in the tail, substorm mid-tail signatures, and near-Earth plasma instabilities, as well as auroral region displays and acceleration physics. Global and ionospheric substorm features shall be discussed with quantitative aspects triggering a debate on the importance of the substorm process for geospace and the coupling between its regions. Ample opportunity will be given for discussions on the new results.

A programme of the conference including the invited speakers is already available on-line. Please refer to the ICS-11 web site for more information.

Deadline for abstract submission and early registration is 1st June 2012.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (link); text adapted from ICS-11 conference.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers in Space Science

Tuesday is the science day on the EISCAT_3D blog. For the science feature, you can submit your research to the blog with an image, photo, or graph, and a short text explaining the study and the key result. We will then publish your work here. For the time being, please send any input to the blog's editor Thomas Ulich (thu -at- sgo -dot- fi). Thanks!

Today we would like to draw your attention to the following, recent publications:
  1. Cluster and TC-1 observation of magnetic holes in the plasma sheet, by W. J. Sun, Q. Q. Shi, S. Y. Fu, Z. Y. Pu, M. W. Dunlop, A. P. Walsh, Q. G. Zong, T. Xiao, C. L. Tang, H. Reme, C. Carr, E. Lucek, and A. Fazakerley, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 583-595, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-583, http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-583.
  2. Study of the applicability of the curlometer technique with the four Cluster spacecraft in regions close to Earth, by S. Grimald, I. Dandouras, P. Robert, and E. Lucek, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 597-611, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-597, http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-597.
  3. Equinoctial asymmetry in solar activity variations of NmF2 and TEC, by Y. Chen, L. Liu, W. Wan, and Z. Ren, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 613-622, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-613,
    http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-613.
  4. Multi-spacecraft observations of small-scale fluctuations in density and fields in plasmaspheric plumes, by H. Matsui, F. Darrouzet, J. Goldstein, P. A. Puhl-Quinn, Yu. V. Khotyaintsev, P.-A. Lindqvist, E. Georgescu, C. G. Mouikis, and R. B. Torbert, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 623-637, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-623, http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-623.
  5. A meteor head echo analysis algorithm for the lower VHF band, by J. Kero, C. Szasz, T. Nakamura, T. Terasawa, H. Miyamoto, and K. Nishimura, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 639-659, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-639, http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-639.
  6. Electron scale structures of thin current sheets in  magnetic reconnection, by N. Jain, A. S. Sharma, L. M. Zelenyi, and H. V. Malova, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 661-666, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-661, http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-661.
  7. External triggering of substorms identified using modern optical versus geosynchronous particle data, by B. Gallardo-Lacourt, Y. Nishimura, L. R. Lyons, and E. Donovan, ANGEO, 2012, Vol.30, pp. 667-673, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-667, http://direct.sref.org/1432-0576/angeo/2012-30-667.
Source: COSIS.net Alert Service Subscriptions.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Call for Papers: Solar Wind 13, Hawaii


Solar Wind 13, the Thirteenth International Solar Wind Conference, will take place 18th-22nd June, 2012, Big Island of Hawaii, USA, at Sheraton Keauhou Hotel. On 17th June 2012, the registration will be open and there will be an evening welcome reception.

The conference will conform to the traditional solar wind themes, addressing the current state of knowledge in the relevant fields of solar and heliospheric physics. In particular, the conference will address:
  1. Physics of the corona, origin and acceleration of the solar wind, and relevant observations of the Sun.
  2. Dynamical behaviour of the interplanetary medium throughout the heliosphere, including large and small scale structures, the evolution of disturbances, dissipative processes, turbulence, and solar energetic particles.
  3. Interaction of the solar wind with the interstellar medium and the heliospheric boundaries, and cosmic rays.
  4. Interaction of the solar wind with solar system objects and dusty environments, including the Earth's magnetosphere, planets, and comets.
  5. Status and prospects of current and future solar wind and heliospheric missions, including new advances in instrumentation.
The program will follow a largely traditional format in that it will be composed of invited lectures and contributed talks and posters.

Please go online and register at www.sw13.org and click on the Registration link. Deadline 30th April 2012.

E-mail inquiries about the meeting should be directed to Gary P. Zank at garyp.zank -at- gmail.com.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Call for Papers: EISCAT_3D User Meeting 2012 - Urgent: reserve room!

Botaniska trädgården, Uppsala II
The 4th EISCAT_3D User Meeting will take place in Uppsala, Sweden, 23rd-25th May 2012. For more information please see the meeting web page at


Important: This is a very busy time in Uppsala, so please reserve accommodation as soon as possible!

The preliminary programme is
  • May 23, Wednesday, 10.00-17.00: Space Weather and EISCAT_3D.
  • May 24, Thursday, 9.00-17.00: General EISCAT and EISCAT_3D Science: New results and future plans.
  • May 25, Friday, 9.00-12.00: EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase project: Current status and future plans. Discussion of future actions by the user community.

The Space Weather component of the EISCAT_3D Science Case was recently discussed in a meeting in Rome, Italy.

You can register for the meeting by e-mail to Stephan Buchert (scb -at- irfu.se), the deadline for registration and abstracts is 27th April 2012.

Photo of the Botanical Gardens from Wikimedia Commons (link).

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Book: Doppler Radar Observations (open access)

A new book entitled "Doppler Radar Observations - Weather Radar, Wind Profiler, Ionospheric Radar, and Other Advanced Applications" and edited by Joan Bech and Jorge L Chau has been published by Intech, which promotes open-access scientific literature and made available on-line for free.

Doppler radar systems have been instrumental to improve our understanding and monitoring capabilities of phenomena taking place in the low, middle, and upper atmosphere. Weather radars, wind profilers, and incoherent and coherent scatter radars implementing Doppler techniques are now used routinely both in research and operational applications by scientists and practitioners. This book brings together a collection of eighteen essays by international leading authors devoted to different applications of ground based Doppler radars. Topics covered include, among others, severe weather surveillance, precipitation estimation and nowcasting, wind and turbulence retrievals, ionospheric radar and volcanological applications of Doppler radar. The book is ideally suited for graduate students looking for an introduction to the field or professionals intending to refresh or update their knowledge on Doppler radar applications.

The book contains the following 18 chapters:
  1. Doppler Radar for USA Weather Surveillance by Dusan S. Zrnic
  2. Automated Processing of Doppler Radar Data for Severe Weather Warnings by Paul Joe, Sandy Dance, Valliappa Lakshmanan, Dirk Heizenreder, Paul James, Peter Lang, Thomas Hengstebeck, Yerong Feng, P.W. Li, Hon-Yin Yeung, Osamu Suzuki, Keiji Doi and Jianhua Dai
  3. Aviation Applications of Doppler Radars in the Alerting of Windshear And Turbulence by P.W. Chan and Pengfei Zhang
  4. Nowcasting by Clive Pierce, Alan Seed, Sue Ballard, David Simonin and Zhihong Li
  5. Use of Radar Precipitation Estimates in Urban Areas: A Case Study of Mexico City by Ernesto Caetano, Baldemar Méndez-Antonio and Víctor Magaña
  6. Measuring Snow with Weather Radar by Elena Saltikoff
  7. A Network of Portable, Low-Cost, X-Band Radars by Marco Gabella, Riccardo Notarpietro, Silvano Bertoldo, Andrea Prato, Claudio Lucianaz, Oscar Rorato, Marco Allegretti and Giovanni Perona
  8. Retrieving High Resolution 3-D Wind Vector Fields from Operational Radar Networks by Olivier Bousquet
  9. Multiple Doppler Radar Analysis for Retrieving the Three-Dimensional Wind Field Within Thunderstorms by Shingo Shimizu
  10. New Observations by Wind Profiling Radars by Masayuki K. Yamamoto
  11. Synergy Between Doppler Radar and Lidar for Atmospheric Boundary Layer Research by Chris G. Collier
  12. Quality Control Algorithms Applied on Weather Radar Reflectivity Data by Jan Szturc, Katarzyna Ośródka and Anna Jurczyk
  13. Effects of Anomalous Propagation Conditions on Weather Radar Observations by Joan Bech, Adolfo Magaldi, Bernat Codina and Jeroni Lorente
  14. Doppler Weather Radars and Wind Turbines by Lars Norin and Günther Haase
  15. Aperture Synthesis Radar Imaging for Upper Atmospheric Research by D.L. Hysell and J.L. Chau
  16. Incoherent Scatter Radar - Spectral Signal Model and Ionospheric Applications by Erhan Kudeki and Marco Milla
  17. Volcanological Applications of Doppler Radars: A Review and Examples from a Transportable Pulse Radar in L-Band by Franck Donnadieu
  18. Doppler Radar Tracking Using Moments by Mohammad Hossein Gholizadeh and Hamidreza Amindavar
You can access the book on-line following this link.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Spring in Lapland

Spring in Lapland — that means daytime temperatures often above freezing, nighttime temperatures solidly below, and very bright and sunny days. The temperature cycle leads to the top snow layer becoming very hard, and then it is possible to ski just anywhere, an opportunity enjoyed by many here. Also, this is the peak time for snowmobiling, either for a fast dash across frozen lakes and rivers, or long-distance travelling from cabin to cabin.

The photo above was taken a week ago some way up the fell of Saana, about which we reported already last summer. The view is to the north-west, towards the mountains of Norway. Somewhere in this direction, some 90 km away, there's the EISCAT Tromsø site, with its UHF and VHF incoherent scatter radars. Pointing in this direction, at this location on Finnish territory closest to the VHF radar, the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (SGO) build the KAIRA facility (Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array). If you click on the photo above and zoom in, you will find KAIRA just off to the right from the centre of the image.

With this Friday-photo we wish all of you a very good weekend, and a Happy Easter!

Photo: Thomas Ulich.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

50 years of Jicamarca Radio Observatory and ISEA

The 13th International Symposium on Equatorial Aeronomy (ISEA13) was held on 12th to 16th March, 2012 in Paracas, Perú. These meetings are held every three to four years. They are major gatherings of scientists from all over the world interested in the low-latitude atmosphere and ionosphere, and how this is coupled to other latitudes and altitudes. Each ISEA meeting represents an opportunity for researchers to share their most recent results and discuss possibilities for future campaigns and experiments.

ISEA13 participants joined the celebration of two important events: the 50th anniversaries of both, the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (JRO) and also the first ISEA meeting, which took place in Huaychulo, Perú, in 1962. The celebration day for JRO's 50th anniversary was held on Saturday, 17th March, 2012 at the observatory grounds (see photo). The celebration program included a detailed tour of the facilities with the Jicamarca scientists and technicians and frequent users participating as “tour guides.”

The celebration program was attended by approximately 150 guests, partially overlapping with the 150 participants of ISEA-13. The participants of ISEA-13 included 25 students and representatives from 23 countries, which presented 120 talks and 95 posters in the following eight topical sessions:

  • Irregularity Physics,
  • E and F region coupling (low and mid latitude coupling),
  • Wave propagation between low/middle atmosphere and ionosphere,
  • Plasma neutral coupling,
  • Low and mid latitude Aeronomy and Electrodynamics,
  • Ionospheric storms and Space weather effects at low and mid latitudes,
  • New techniques, experiments, campaigns, and results, and
  • Future trends and challenges.

More information about ISEA13, including the program and abstracts are available at http://jro.igp.gob.pe/isea13.

ISEA13 was supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Southern Office of Aerospace Research and Development (SOARD), Scientific Committee On Solar-Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) and Climate And Weather of the Sun-Earth System (CAWSES), the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA), the International Union of Radio Science (URSI), the Consejo Nacional De Ciencia Y Tecnología del Perú (CONCYTEC). In addition, ISEA received support from private companies in Perú. Most of this was devoted to support the participation of young scientists and researchers from developing countries.

The results of the workshop will be published in a special issue in the Journal for Atmospheric and Solar Terrestrial Physics. The deadline for submission of papers is 31st July, 2012.

Ethiopia was chosen as the site of the next ISEA meeting to be held in 2015 or 2016.

Photo and text were kindly provided by Jorge L. Chau of JRO.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Call for Papers: Electromagnetic Methods of Environmental Studies, Kharkov, Ukraine

The 1st Conference on Electromagnetic Methods of Environmental Studies (EMES 2012) will take place in Kharkov, Ukraine, 25th to 27th September 2012. The Conference is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Pavel Bliokh, a famous Ukrainian radio scientist, who was born 90 years ago.

The Conference topics include methods of remote sensing of the terrestrial and planetary atmospheres, geospace, interplanetary and interstellar space and radio wave propagation through these media in a wide frequency range. Preference will be given to the methods employing already existing natural and technogenic emissions as the probe signals and requiring no special transmitting systems to be developed. Invited lectures will present reviews of fundamental papers by P. Bliokh who has contributed essentially to the development of these research areas in Ukraine.

The Conference topics are:
  1. Low-frequency environmental resonators and guiding structures
  2. Natural focusing systems
  3. Remote sensing and wave propagation in the geospace
  4. Effects in dusty plasmas
  5. Electromagnetic field fluctuations in natural media

The conference is jointly organised by
  • the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU),
  • the Institute of Radio Astronomy of NASU,
  • A. Usikov Institute for Radio Physics and Electronics of NASU, and
  • V. Karazin National University of Kharkov.

The photo above, provided by the organisers, shows the antennae of the Kharkov UTR-2 radio telescope against the light of the setting sun. The receiver operates at frequencies from 3 MHz to 30 MHz. It is a huge installation: T-shaped with the North-South system 1800 m long (1440 dipoles) and the East-West system 900 m long (600 dipoles).