System-Scale Data Analysis to Resolve Thermospheric Joule Heating

System-Scale Data Analysis to Resolve Thermospheric Joule Heating

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British Antarctic Survey

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About the workshop:

The 1-day workshop “System-Scale Data Analysis to Resolve Thermospheric Joule Heating”, will be held at the Aurora Centre in the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge, UK) on Friday 27th April 2018. It is sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society.

The aim of this workshop is to give a forum for discussing of the interdisciplinary utility of data-driven analytical techniques, and the best ways to harness the potential of the available large datasets which are driving advances in near-Earth space research. The specific focus of the workshop is on the intrinsically interdisciplinary problem of resolving Joule heating – the transfer of energy from electrical currents in the ionosphere to neutral particles of the upper atmosphere.

Day schedule:

09:00 – 09:30: Registration.

09:30 – 10:15: Keynote

  • Brian Anderson: On Multi-Scale Assessment of Ionospheric Electromagnetic Energy Input

10:15 – 11:15: Session 1: Seasons and Solar Cycles

  • Sandra Chapman: Reproducible aspects of the climate of space weather over the last five solar cycles
  • Colin Forsyth: Seasonal and temporal variations of field-aligned currents and ground magnetic deflections during substorms

11:15 – 12:00: Posters and refreshments

12:00 – 13:00: Session 2: Scale-Coupling in Space and Time

  • Daniel Whiter: Quantifying the effects of fine scale electric fields on Joule heating
  • Maria-Theresia Walach: Characterising and understanding temporal variability in ionospheric flows using SuperDARN data

13:00 – 14:00: Break for lunch.

14:00 – 15:15: Poster Session, refreshments, discussion topic suggestions

15:15 – 16:45: Session 3: Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling from Low-Earth Orbit

  • Steve Milan: Linear and non-linear dimensionality reduction techniques applied to AMPERE observations of field-aligned currents
  • Karl. M. Laundal: An empirical model of horizontal ionospheric currents from magnetic field measurements at low Earth orbit
  • Delores Knipp: Poynting Flux Calculated along DMSP F15 orbits

16:45 – 17:30 Discussion Session

17:30: End of official meeting activities

Scientific Background:

To enjoy the benefits of an improved description of Joule heating, we must understand its components – ionospheric electric field, conductivity and current flow – and the solar, magnetospheric and thermospheric factors which drive them. These improvements require systems-level (global) analyses, spanning the complex and strongly coupled solar-terrestrial environment. The increasing availability of large ground-based and satellite datasets, such as AMPERE, SuperDARN and SuperMAG which span multiple years (even multiple solar cycles) with often excellent geographic coverage provides an unprecedented set of complementary observations to achieve this.

Analytical techniques from the disciplines of statistics, machine learning and information theory are driving new discoveries of spatiotemporal trends and interdependencies in solar-terrestrial system phenomena. We aim to foster discussion in the solar-terrestrial community on new and existing techniques which provide state-of-the-art descriptions of the Joule heating, its causative electrodynamic components, and the associated thermospheric response. In particular, we seek out approaches which exploit all available data, rather than focusing on single instruments, epochs, or phenomena. Contributions which improve the understanding of coupling between systems and thus improve the nowcasting, forecasting or hindcasting of Joule heating phenomena are especially welcome.

Abstract Submission Details:

The programme of oral presentations is now finalised, but we are accepting submisison of poster abstracts until the close of registration on 23rd April – please submit your poster abstracts here: The abstract submission form also contains some additional practical advice for how to focus your contributions.

Registration fee details:

The registration fee for this workshop covers the hire of the event space and refreshments, with a small charge from Eventbrite to cover their costs. Financial assistance to meet the registration fee is available to a limited number of postgraduate students, on a first-come, first-served basis. Should you qualify, please email Rob Shore ( for details before registering.

Time and Place:

The workshop will run from 09:00 to 17:30 on Friday 27th April 2018. The day schedule will be communicated after close of abstract submissions, on 19th March. We will be holding the meeting at the Aurora Centre, part of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. An overview of the Aurora Centre is here


In terms of proximity to both the British Antarctic Survey and Cambridge centre, we would recommend the Arundel House Hotel (Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3AN). Otherwise, there are now a number of Travelodges and Premier Inns in Cambridge.


The Arundel has onsite private parking at a cost of GBP 9.50 per day. The Arundel is on the route of the Citi 4 bus, which goes from the town centre to just north of the British Antarctic Survey. Alternatively, if the weather is nice it would be about a 40-minute walk to the British Antarctic Survey from the Arundel. Full details of how to travel to the British Antarctic Survey can be found at

In summary, please register and submit abstracts at your convenience, and we look forward to seeing you on 27th April.

Many thanks,

Rob Shore, Anasuya Aruliah, John Coxon and Elizabeth Tindale

If you have any queries, plase contact Rob Shore at

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