TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 65 (No. 11), pp. 1375-1383, 2013

Space Weather opportunities from the Swarm mission including near real time applications

Claudia Stolle1,3, Rune Floberghagen2, Hermann Lühr3, Stefan Maus4, D. J. Knudsen5, Patrick Alken4, Eelco Doornbos6, Brian Hamilton7, Alan W. P. Thomson7, and Pieter N. Visser6

1Technical University of Denmark, DTU Space, Lyngby, Denmark
2Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes, ESRIN, Frascati, Italy
3Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Germany
4National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, USA
5University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
6Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
7British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

(Received March 27, 2013; Revised September 30, 2013; Accepted October 21, 2013; Online published November 22, 2013)

Abstract: Sophisticated space weather monitoring aims at nowcasting and predicting solar-terrestrial interactions because their effects on the ionosphere and upper atmosphere may seriously impact advanced technology. Operating alert infrastructures rely heavily on ground-based measurements and satellite observations of the solar and interplanetary conditions. New opportunities lie in the implementation of in-situ observations of the ionosphere and upper atmosphere onboard low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. The multi-satellite mission Swarm is equipped with several instruments which will observe electromagnetic and atmospheric parameters of the near Earth space environment. Taking advantage of the multi-disciplinary measurements and the mission constellation different Swarm products have been defined or demonstrate great potential for further development of novel space weather products. Examples are satellite based magnetic indices monitoring effects of the magnetospheric ring current or the polar electrojet, polar maps of ionospheric conductance and plasma convection, indicators of energy deposition like Poynting flux, or the prediction of post sunset equatorial plasma irregularities. Providing these products in timely manner will add significant value in monitoring present space weather and helping to predict the evolution of several magnetic and ionospheric events. Swarm will be a demonstrator mission for the valuable application of LEO satellite observations for space weather monitoring tools.
Key words: Ionosphere, thermosphere, geomagnetic field, solar-terrestrial coupling, space weather, Swarm, low Earth orbiting satellites.

Corresponding author E-mail: cstolle@gfz-potsdam.de

[Full text] (PDF 3.9 MB)