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Project Reference



Thematic Area Solid Earth

Cost 100 - 200 K

Action Line Novel Algorithms and Products

Status In Progress


Project Description


The primary focus is here on the ionospheric conductances and convection maps and the coupling between ionosphere and magnetosphere. The second part of the activity is a generation and elaboration of ideas for new opportunities arising from joint analysis of Swarm and Cluster data when operating at the same time.

Swarm is the fifth of a family of Earth Explorer satellites designed to study our planet and its environment in order to enhance our knowledge and understanding of Earth-system processes and their evolution, to enable us to address the challenges of global change. In particular, Swarm will measure the specific characteristics of the changing magnetic field of the Earth and the influence of the Sun on this field manifest in near-Earth current systems and radiation belts. This analysis can be performed based upon data from a constellation of three satellites each with a suite of instruments to measure features of the magnetic field, the electric field and the atmospheric composition and temperature.

Cluster, a space science mission, is a constellation of four spacecraft flying in formation around Earth. They are making the most detailed investigation yet of how the Sun and Earth interact beyond sunlight alone. The four Cluster spacecraft work together collecting three-dimensional information about how the perpetual stream of subatomic particles given out by the Sun, the solar wind, interacts with Earth’s natural cloak of magnetism, the magnetosphere. Each spacecraft carries an identical set of 11 instruments to investigate electrical and magnetic fields, and charged particles. These were built by European and American teams of scientists and engineers led by Principal Investigators.

The determination of ionospheric conductances and convection maps from the satellite data and a better understanding of the ionospheric-magnetospheric coupling can help to significantly improve the quality of current density estimates which rely today on model corrections. Present day data from CHAMP, Cluster and simulated data from Swarm can be used to study this topic in detail and prepare for the Swarm operational phase.

The expected benefits from the study are:

  • 1: Improved understanding of the ionosphere-magnetosphere coupling in relation to conductivity in the ionosphere.
  • 2: Deriving conductances and convection maps from CHAMP/Cluster data in preparation of Swarm data analysis, including validation of the results.
  • 3: Elaboration of the Swarm case and simulations for the expected constellation of the Swarm and Cluster satellites together.
  • 4: Collection of science ideas for the analysis of data jointly obtained from Swarm and Cluster during the Swarm mission lifetime coinciding with the expected Cluster extension.

Project Consortium

Project Partners FMI : Finnish Meteorological Institute(Prime contractor)
DTU : Technical University of Denmark (DTU)(Subcontractor)
IRAP : Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie(Subcontractor)
IRF : Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Subcontractor)
GFZ : GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam(Subcontractor)
RAL : Rutherford Appleton Laboratory(Subcontractor)

Contact Points

Project Manager Olaf Amm and Kirsti Kauristi
Finnish Meteorological Institute
Erik Palmenin aukio 1
FIN-00100 Helsinki,

Technical Officer Roger Haagmans


Useful Information

Brochure: STSE | Support to Science Element
STSE Report 2008-2012
STSE Conferences