TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 65 (No. 11), pp. 1385-1398, 2013

Magnetospheric ULF wave studies in the frame of Swarm mission: a time-frequency analysis tool for automated detection of pulsations in magnetic and electric field observations

Georgios Balasis1, Ioannis A. Daglis2, 1, Marina Georgiou1, 2, Constantinos Papadimitriou1, 2, and Roger Haagmans3

1Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Metaxa and Vasileos Pavlou, Penteli 15236 Athens, Greece
2Section of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, Department of Physics, University of Athens, Panepistimioupoli Zografou, 15784 Athens, Greece
3European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency, Noordwijk, The Netherlands

(Received March 15, 2013; Revised October 24, 2013; Accepted October 25, 2013; Online published November 22, 2013)

Abstract: We combine the advantages of multi-spacecraft and ground-based monitoring of the geospace environment in order to analyze and study magnetospheric ultra low frequency (ULF) waves. In line with this aim, we also develop and deliver relevant analysis tools based on wavelet transforms and tailored to the Swarm mission. In the preparation phase as well as the lifetime of the Swarm mission, the analysis of isolated ULF wave events—especially those detected in the Pc3 frequency range (20-100 mHz) that a topside ionosphere mission efficiently resolves—can help to elucidate the processes that play a crucial role in the generation of waves and their most defining propagation characteristics. Additionally, we offer a useful platform to monitor the wave evolution from the outer boundaries of Earth's magnetosphere through the topside ionosphere down to the surface. Data from a single Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite (CHAMP), a multi-satellite LEO mission (ST5) and the ongoing multi-satellite magnetospheric mission (Cluster) along with a ground-based magnetic network (CARISMA) are used to demonstrate the potential of our analysis technique in studying wave evolution in detail. A better understanding of the generation and propagation of waves will also allow to geophysically validate some of Swarm's data products, especially those related to the magnetic and electric fields in geospace. With a carefully selected case study focusing on the recovery phase of a moderate magnetic storm (9 April 2006 with a minimum Dst value of -82 nT) as a starting point, we clearly demonstrate the capabilities offered by our wavelet analysis tools and highlight the options opened to treat various categories of multipoint multi-instrument measurements (both spaceborne and ground-based) for signatures of ULF wave signals as well as the effects of various other sources.
Key words: Magnetospheric ULF waves, LEO satellites, wavelet transforms.

Corresponding author E-mail: gbalasis@noa.gr

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