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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 26, issue 12
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3913–3932, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3913–3932, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  05 Dec 2008

05 Dec 2008

Towards understanding the electrodynamics of the 3-dimensional high-latitude ionosphere: present and future

O. Amm1, A. Aruliah2, S. C. Buchert3, R. Fujii4, J. W. Gjerloev5, A. Ieda4, T. Matsuo6, C. Stolle7, H. Vanhamäki1, and A. Yoshikawa8 O. Amm et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Arctic Research unit, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Atmospheric Physics Laboratory, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
  • 3Swedish Institute of Space Physics, 75121 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 4Solar-Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-8601, Japan
  • 5Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723-6099, USA
  • 6Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA
  • 7GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 8Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University 33, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812, Japan

Abstract. Traditionally, due to observational constraints, ionospheric modelling and data analysis techniques have been devised either in one dimension (e.g. along a single radar beam), or in two dimensions (e.g. over a network of magnetometers). With new upcoming missions like the Swarm ionospheric multi-satellite project, or the EISCAT 3-D project, the time has come to take into account variations in all three dimensions simultaneously, as they occur in the real ionosphere. The link between ionospheric electrodynamics and the neutral atmosphere circulation which has gained increasing interest in the recent years also intrinsically requires a truly 3-dimensional (3-D) description. In this paper, we identify five major science questions that need to be addressed by 3-D ionospheric modelling and data analysis. We briefly review what proceedings in the young field of 3-D ionospheric electrodynamics have been made in the past to address these selected question, and we outline how these issues can be addressed in the future with additional observations and/or improved data analysis and simulation techniques. Throughout the paper, we limit the discussion to high-latitude and mesoscale ionospheric electrodynamics, and to directly data-driven (not statistical) data analysis.

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