Thursday, 28 February 2013

Vacancy: Research Scientist or PhD Student in Atmospheric Research

Finnish Meteorological Institute is looking for a

Research scientist / PhD student (atmospheric research)

for the Academy of Finland project "Climate and Solar Particle Forcing." The work includes analysis of data from atmospheric observations and models. The position is at FMI Helsinki within the Earth Observation/Atmospheric Remote Sensing group and is available for 12 months in the first instance. Our group works on a wide range of topics on middle and lower atmosphere sciences and provides an interesting and active working environment for a young scientist.


  • University degree (MSc or equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g. in atmospheric sciences, physics, or applied mathematics). 
  • Scientific attitude.
  • Ability to work as part of an active team, as well as independently if necessary.
  • Good computing skills in unix/linux environment, including programming.
  • Good verbal and written English language skills.

Considered an advantage but not required:

  • Previous experience in meteorology, atmospheric models or atmospheric data.
  • Experience in data analysis using Matlab.
  • Research experience.

The position is available immediately. Salary is based on both experience and performance according to FMI pay bands; starting annual pay for a recent MSc graduate is about 27500 EUR and includes health care. FMI also offers access to in-house sporting facilities. Parking facilities and a locked cycle park are available. The institute is located at the University of Helsinki Kumpula science campus, next to the University botanic gardens.

The deadline for applications is 15 March, 2013, at 13:00 GMT (15:00 Finnish time). Please send your application, including a CV, to kirjaamo -at- fmi -dot- fi (CC: annika -dot- seppala -at- fmi -dot- fi). More information is available from Academy Fellow Dr Annika Seppälä (e-mail: annika -dot- seppala -at- fmi -dot- fi). For information on the Atmospheric Remote Sensing group see

Images: Envisat satellite and Finnish Meteorological Institute headquarters.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

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!
  • Refilling process in the plasmasphere: a 3-D statistical characterization based on Cluster density observations, by G. Lointier, F. Darrouzet, P. M. E. Décréau, X. Vallières, S. Kougblénou, J. G. Trotignon, and J.-L. Rauch, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 217-237, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-217,
  • Multi-instrument comparisons of D-region plasma measurements, by M. Friedrich, K. M. Torkar, U.-P. Hoppe, T.-A. Bekkeng, A. Barjatya, and M. Rapp, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 135-144, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-135,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Vacancy: Lecturership in Space Physics, Helsinki

The Department of Physics in the Faculty of Science at the University of Helsinki invites applications for a


for a five-year term from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2018, or according to a mutual agreement.

According to the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, an appointee to a university lectureship shall hold an applicable doctoral degree and be able to provide high-quality teaching based on research and to supervise theses and dissertations.

The lecturer shall conduct scientific research on space weather phenomena and teach in the field of space physics as well as on courses supporting space research at undergraduate or graduate levels.

Success in the lectureship will require solid background in space plasma physics, experience in scientific analysis, interpretation and modelling of large satellite-based data sets, and associated wide international collaborative network.

The full announcement is available on-line.

More details can be obtained from Professor Hannu Koskinen, +358 9 191 50675, +358 50 415 5356,

Deadline: 8th March 2013.

Photo: Main building of University of Helsinki, Wikimedia Commons (source).

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Call for Papers: Space Climate 5, Oulu, Finland

The Space Climate 5 symposium will be held in Oulu, Finland, 15th to 19th June 2013, just before the summer solstice.

Space Climate is an interdisciplinary science that deals with the long-term change in the Sun, and its effects in the heliosphere and in the near-Earth environment, including the atmosphere and climate. A special focus will be on studies of the causes, consequences and implications of the present, unusually low solar activity since solar cycle 23 that, most likely, indicates the imminent end of the Modern Grand Maximum of solar activity.

Other topics include solar dynamo, solar irradiance variations, solar wind, geomagnetic field and activity, cosmic rays and cosmogenic isotopes, and solar effects on different layers of the atmosphere and on local and global climate, as well as possible solar effects on human health and on the development of human cultures.

UPDATE 2013-02-28:

Revised abstract deadline: 15th March 2013.

Deadlines for special-price accommodation and for reduced registration fee are also 15th March 2013!

Image and text provided by the organisers.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

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!
  • 7Be in Finland during the 1999–2001 Solar maximum and 2007–2009 Solar minimum, by Ari-Pekka Leppänen, Jussi Paatero, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 8 February 2013 (link).
  • Temporal and spatial characteristics of the formation of strong noctilucent clouds, by J. Kiliani, G. Baumgarten, F.-J. Lübken, U. Berger, P. Hoffmann, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 4 February 2013 (link).
  • Small scale structures of NLC observed by lidar at 69 °N/69 °S and their possible relation to gravity waves, by N. Kaifler, G. Baumgarten, A.R. Klekociuk, S.P. Alexander, J. Fiedler, F.-J. Lübken, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 1 February 2013 (link).
  • Statistical study of the F3 layer characteristics retrieved from Intercosmos-19 satellite data, by A.T. Karpachev, M.V. Klimenko, V.V. Klimenko, V.P. Kuleshova, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 1 February 2013 (link).
  • Lunar Tidal Effects in the Electrodynamics of the Low Latitude Ionosphere, by Bela G. Fejer, Brian D. Tracy, J. Atm. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 1 February 2013 (link).

Monday, 18 February 2013

Vacancy: Arctic PhD Studentship in Vertical Atmospheric Coupling

The British Antarctic Survey intends to target two of its NERC quota (algorithm) awards for 2013 specifically at Arctic research. This is one of five research topics offered spanning the wide range of activities currently undertaken within our Polar Science for Planet Earth Programme. The funding will go to the two projects with the best applicants.

Exploring northern hemisphere gravity wave breaking with atmospheric radar: mesospheric circulation, vertical coupling of the atmosphere and the role of geomagnetic activity (Arctic Project 4)

The project will be co-supervised by British Antarctic Survey and Lancaster University.

Gravity waves (atmospheric buoyancy waves) are a highly important means of transporting energy from the lower to the upper atmosphere and so potentially very important for understanding climate variability, yet due to their scale sizes they are not resolved in global circulation models. In the troposphere gravity waves are generated by sources such as air-flow over the mountains or large convective storms and can be commonly spotted as ripples in the clouds. Breaking of waves in the mesosphere (~50-90 km altitude) drives the pole-to pole circulation that links the cold summer mesopause and the strong down-welling that occurs in the polar vortex in the winter hemisphere. This downward motion is a potentially important part of the process by which solar activity can influence regional climate, via the transport of ozone-destroying chemical species following geomagnetic activity. WACCM (Whole Atmosphere Coupled Community Model) simulations have suggested that a change in the altitude of gravity wave breaking effects the peak meridional circulation, the vertical transport of important chemical constituents and their mixing ratios. Gravity waves that penetrate into the thermosphere influence the density of ionosphere and may have an upward impact on geomagnetic storms and the resultant space weather effects. Other sources of gravity waves in middle and upper atmosphere in the Polar Regions are the polar vortex itself and the geomagnetic activity.

This PhD project will use archive and new data from the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) Radars in northern Norway to characterise the occurrence and properties of polar mesosphere winter echoes (PMWE); strong coherent radar signals that are strongly related to atmospheric turbulence and the presence of charged fine dust. The ‘polar’ and ‘winter’ terms are historical misnomers as these echoes are observed all year around and at both at polar and mid-latitudes. Recent work has shown that turbulence is the dominant mechanism behind PMWE and it is highly characteristic of gravity wave breaking. The atmosphere above the EISCAT radars is a perfect laboratory for this study: it is a hot-spot for gravity wave generation, close to the polar vortex and the auroral zone.

The successful candidate will analyse data from the EISCAT radars and compile a catalogue of PMWE using the observations to determine the altitude and temporal variation of gravity wave breaking. They will establish the sensitivity of the local mean neutral wind flow to changes in the altitude of the turbulent region using several different types of atmospheric radar in collaboration with national and international partners. The student will help to plan and take part in experiment campaigns, developing novel experiments to make new observations. They will use radar at multi-frequencies to probe the turbulent structure and establish whether any differences are due to dust charging or gravity wave vertical wavelength. A combination of auroral and meteorological observations will be used to study the roles played by the unstable polar vortex and auroral activity on the mean wind flow and gravity wave turbulence.

Closing date: 28th February 2013.

For more information and application details, please refer to the original announcement.

Photo: British Antarctic Survey Headquarters, Cambridge, UK; Wikimedia Commons (source).

Thursday, 14 February 2013

2013 Incoherent Scatter Radar Summer School, MIT Haystack

The 2013 ISR Summer School will be held at the MIT Haystack Observatory, 28th July to 2nd August 2013. The school will provide students with hands-on experience in designing and running experiments at incoherent scatter radar facilities.

During this summer school, students will have the opportunity to run experiments and use data from multiple incoherent scatter radar observatories, such as Poker Flat (PFISR), Millstone Hill, Resolute Bay (RISR), Sondrestrom, Jicamarca and Arecibo. The school will be structured to provide presentations in the morning and hands-on experience in experiment design and analysis in the afternoons. The morning lectures will include an introduction to the theory of incoherent scatter, radar operations, ISR analysis techniques, and the Madrigal database. The afternoon exercises will involve working closely with ISR facility staff in the topic areas of: proposal design, experiment execution, and data analysis. All students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with experienced scientists from multiple institutions.

The ISR summer school is suitable for graduate and advanced undergraduate students and attendance is limited. For most students attending institutions within the United States, travel, housing and meals will be provided. For post-docs and students outside of the United States, funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Provided there is space, professors and other professionals are welcome to observe.

Please email summerschool -at- esd -dot- sri -dot- com if you are interested in this option. All students who wish to apply for the ISR summer school must follow the application instructions at the summer school web site:

The ISR summer school is sponsored by the US National Science Foundation through its Geospace Facilities Program within the Geosciences Directorate and is organised by SRI International. For more information about the school, please contact Elizabeth Kendall (summerschool -at- esd -dot- sri -dot- com).

The deadline for application submission is 15th March 2013.

Text provided by the organisers; photo of the Millstone Hill radars by Thomas Ulich.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Vacancy: Marie Curie Experienced Research Fellow, Neustrelitz

Applications for the post of

Marie Curie Experienced Researcher in GNSS Ionospheric Research

are invited as part of an exciting Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) funded by the FP7 PEOPLE Programme, entitled TRANSMIT – Training Research and Applications Network to Support the Mitigation of Ionospheric Threats.

Research will focus on the mitigation of the serious problems Earths ionosphere poses towards Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). We are looking for an outstanding and highly motivated post doc scientist, who will contribute to the TRANSMIT project at the Institute of Communications and Navigation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Neustrelitz (DLR Neustrelitz site).

The candidate will co-ordinate and assist in the implementation of software tools to generate and validate data products selected for further use at application level by associated partners. The operation of these data products will be tested under real geophysical and space weather conditions via the web based interface of the ‘Space Application Center – Ionosphere’ (SWACI) of DLR.  Furthermore, the candidate will contribute developing detection and monitoring algorithms for ionospheric perturbations at different spatial and temporal scales. In particular, the candidate will contribute implementing methods to warn users before ionospheric perturbations approach a specified area.

The candidate must have an excellent knowledge in physics and mathematics as well as a profound experience in computer programming and web design. A successfully finished PhD is required. Excellent communication and team work skills are a necessity, as the candidate will co-ordinate the development of the final data products with the TRANSMIT partners.

Employment and salary follows guidelines (pdf; page 8) of the Marie Curie Action.

Please send application documents to Dr Norbert Jakowski (Norbert -dot- Jakowski -at- dlr -dot- de) and Professor Roman Galas (roman -dot- galas -at- tu-berlin -dot- de). They can also provide further information if needed.

Photo: Großer Fürstensee, Wikimedia Commons (source).

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Science Tuesday: Recent Papers

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!
  • Payload charging events in the mesosphere and their impact on Langmuir type electric probes, by T. A. Bekkeng, A. Barjatya, U.-P. Hoppe, A. Pedersen, J. I. Moen, M. Friedrich, and M. Rapp, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 187-196, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-187,
  • Low-latitude equinoctial spread-F occurrence at different longitude sectors under low solar activity, by M. Pezzopane, E. Zuccheretti, P. Abadi, A. J. de Abreu, R. de Jesus, P. R. Fagundes, P. Supnithi, S. Rungraengwajiake, T. Nagatsuma, T. Tsugawa, M. A. Cabrera, and R. G. Ezquer, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 153-162, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-153,
  • GPS observations of medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances over Europe, by Y. Otsuka, K. Suzuki, S. Nakagawa, M. Nishioka, K. Shiokawa, and T. Tsugawa, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 163-172, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-163,
  • Support vector machines for TEC seismo-ionospheric anomalies detection, by M. Akhoondzadeh, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 173-186, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-173,
  • The ultra-fast Kelvin waves in the equatorial ionosphere: observations and modeling, by A. N. Onohara, I. S. Batista, and H. Takahashi, ANGEO, 2013, Vol.31, pp. 209-215, SRef-ID: 1432-0576/angeo/2013-31-209,
Source: Alert Service Subscriptions.

Monday, 11 February 2013

UK Report on Extreme Space Weather Impacts

The UK should plan now to mitigate the effects of a rare but potentially serious solar superstorm, according to a report published today by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Although the UK is better prepared than many countries, there are areas where we need to improve our resilience.

The Academy's report, Extreme space weather: impacts on engineered systems and infrastructure (pdf), was drawn up with the help of experts from many different disciplines. It is the UK's first in-depth assessment of the potential impacts of solar superstorms.

Explosive eruptions of energy from the Sun that cause minor solar storms on Earth are relatively common events. Superstorms, by contrast, occur very rarely - perhaps once every century or two. Most superstorms miss the Earth, travelling harmlessly into space. Of those that do travel towards the Earth, only half interact with our environment and cause damage. The last true solar superstorm - known as the 'Carrington event' was in 1859.

However, a solar superstorm is inevitable at some point and will degrade the performance of the electricity grid, satellites, GPS systems, aviation and possibly mobile communications.

The Royal Academy of Engineering recommends that a UK Space Weather Board be initiated within government to provide overall leadership of UK space weather activities - this board must have the capacity to maintain an overview of space weather strategy across all government departments.

More research is needed into the full effects of solar superstorms. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) should ensure that its research programmes recognise the importance of extreme space weather mitigation and EPSRC should be fully integrated into any research council strategy.

The Academy recommends that all terrestrial mobile communications networks with critical resiliency requirements should be able to operate without global navigational satellite systems (GNSS) timing for up to three days. This should include network upgrades, including those associated with the new 4G licences, and particularly upgrades to emergency services communications.

The report finds that a solar superstorm might render GPS and Galileo partially or completely inoperable for between one and three days due to disruption of radio transmission paths between the satellites and the ground. Such a loss of navigational aids could potentially affect aircraft and shipping. Today's aircraft navigation systems are not wholly dependent on GNSS and their use is generally backed up by other navigation aids; it is important that these alternative navigation options remain available in the future.

In a solar superstorm of the size of the Carrington event, air passengers and crew already airborne would be exposed to a one-off dose of radiation. The report recommends that ground-, space- and even airborne-derived radiation alerts should be considered for provision to aviation authorities, operators and pilots to allow them to minimise and quantify the risk.

Satellites will also be affected by the solar superstorm and we expect around one in ten satellites to be fully or partially inoperative for a period of a few days. A small number will never recover. More broadly the satellite fleet will be aged significantly, necessitating an accelerated satellite launch programme to compensate.

Professor Paul Cannon FREng, Chair of the Academy's working group on extreme solar weather, says:

"The UK is one of a small number of countries taking this risk seriously. The two challenges for government are the wide spectrum of technologies affected today and the emergence of unexpected vulnerabilities as technology evolves. The Academy recommends that government sets up a space weather board to oversee these issues across government departments.

"Our message is: Don't panic, but do prepare - a solar superstorm will happen one day and we need to be ready for it. Many steps have already been taken to minimise the impact of solar superstorms on current technology and by following the recommendations in the report we anticipate that the UK can further minimise the impact."

The original press release including a list of the board members is available on-line.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

EISCAT visit to the European Commission

On the morning of 25th January, 2013, a small group from EISCAT Headquarters went on an expedition to the European Commission in a snowy Brussels, Belgium. The group consisted of (from the left in the photo) Anders Tjulin (project assistant), Magnus Friberg (international relations co-ordinator), Ingrid Mann (project manager) and Craig Heinselman (EISCAT director).

In the second half of 2012, the European Commission began to review the progress towards implementation of all projects currently on the 2010 ESFRI Roadmap (pdf). The first step of this evaluation was to send out a questionnaire to the different projects. The EISCAT_3D response to this questionnaire is available on-line. In the second step, a group of high-level experts was appointed by the European Commission to determine the financial and managerial maturity of the different projects on the roadmap. Their role is to identify if there are any specific bottlenecks, to make recommendations on how to address these best, and to indicate the feasibility of these projects to be implemented by 2015.

The reason for the EISCAT visit to Brussels was to meet these experts, to give a 15-minute presentation of the status of the project and to have 90 minutes of questions from the experts and discussions on topics such as administration, human resources and risk management. The meeting went well in a positive atmosphere.

The expert group consists of: Prof. Richard Wade (former Chief Operating Officer, STFC), Dr Antonella Calvia-Götz (expert on Research Infrastructures appraisal at the European Investment Bank), Prof. Milena Žic-Fuchs (University of Zagreb), Prof. Alfonso Franciosi (University of Trieste and CEO Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste), Prof. Sine Larsen (University of Copenhagen), Dr Karl Tichmann (former Managing Director IPP), Dr John Marks (former Deputy CEO ESF, absent from this meeting).

Text: Anders Tjulin, Photo: EISCAT.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Aerial Photography of KAIRA

We just learnt that the MapSite of the Finnish National Land Survey (Maanmittauslaitos) has updated aerial photography from the Kilpisjärvi area where the Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array (KAIRA) is located. The images were taken in late summer 2012, and astonishingly one can just about make out the 3m x 3m ground planes of the LBA aerials in the circular area south of the HBA tiles.

The station in its current deployment is a partial so-called "LOFAR remote site." A LOFAR remote site contains 48 HBA tiles and 96 LBA crossed inverted-V dipoles. However, due to limitations of space, the team from Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory deployed only 48 LBA aerials at the KAIRA site. The remaining 48 aerials are at the moment thought to form SAIRA in the future, i.e. the Sodankylä Atmospheric Imaging Array.

You can find a high-resolution image of the KAIRA location on the MapSite directly. Clearly visible in that image is also the road from Kilpisjärvi in Finland to Skibotn in Norway, with the customs station at the southern edge of the frame. Note that the images are copyright of the Finnish National Land Survey.