Part of the Research Council of Norway POLARPROG.

Project number: 246725
Project period: March 2015–March 2018

Norwegian Partner Institution: The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS)
Russian Partner Institution: The Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPE), Moscow



Project manager: Associate Professor Lisa Baddeley (UNIS)

Aurora seen from the Kjell Henriksen Observatory
Latest news

Short project summary

The project aims to initiate a new collaboration between the two research groups through a joint study into how energy is dissipated into the upper atmosphere through interaction between the Sun’s magnetic field (IMF) and the Earth’s magnetic field. Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) waves and turbulence manifest themselves as periodic fluctuations in the atmospheric signatures of this energy deposition (such as temperature and density changes) and in the Earth’s magnetic field. By monitoring the frequency, magnitude and location of the waves on the ground it is possible to investigate the complex plasma processes and interactions happening in the Earth’s ionosphere/magnetosphere system. The most intense wave activity in the ULF frequency range (from fractions of mHz to few Hz) is persistently observed at high latitudes. They are identifiable in ground based instrumentation such as magnetic field monitoring stations (magnetometers), optical equipment and radars. The instrumentation located on Svalbard at Longyearbyen, Barentsburg, Hornsund and Ny-Ålesund thus allows a unique opportunity to study these waves over long time periods at high latitudes.

This connection between the IMF and the Earth’s magnetic fields produces two main areas of interest which have two different physical methods of interaction.  These will be the focus of the collaborative projects. In addition, the project will also involve stays on Svalbard for researchers from IPE as well as joint fieldwork trips to Barentsburg. Researchers from UNIS will travel to IPE for joint workshops.

Figure 1: A schematic showing the different current systems and regions inside the Earth’s magnetosphere. By monitoring changes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (ionosphere), which is magnetically connected to the magnetosphere, we can understand the process of energy transfer between the two systems (adapted from Kivelson and Russel 1995).



Figure 2: An example of a ULF wave modulating the particle flow at ~200km altitude over Svalbard and Northern Scandinavia (from Scoffield et al. 2005).


Instrumentation utilized during the study:


Project Publications

L. J. Baddeley, D. A. Lorentzem, N. Partamies, W. Denig, V. A. Pilipenko, K. Oksavik, X. –C., Chen and Y. Zhang, Equatorward Propagating Auroral Arcs driven by ULF Wave Activity: Multipoint Ground and Space based Observations in the Dusk Sector Auroral Oval, accepted to J. Geophys, Res., 2017

N. Yagova, N. Nosikova, L. Baddeley, O. Kozyreva, D.Lorentzen, and V. Pilipenko Non-triggered auroral substorms and long-period (1-4 mHz) geomagnetic and auroral luminosity pulsations in the polar cap, submitted to Ann. Geophys. 35,3, 365-376, 10.5194/angeo-35-365-2017, 2017

E. Fedorov, N. Mazur, V. Pilipenko, and L. Baddeley, Modeling the high-latitude ground response to the excitation of the ionospheric MHD modes by atmospheric electric discharge, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JA023354, 2016

Belakhovsky V.B., Pilipenko V.A., Samsonov S.N., Lorentsen D. Features of Pc5 pulsations in the geomagnetic field, auroral luminosity, and riometer absorption// Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, 56, N1,  42-58, 2016 (view PDF).


March/April 2017
Professor Vyacheslav Pilipenko from IPE and Dr. Vladimir Belakhovskii from The Polar Geophysical Institute (PGI) in Apatity visited researchers at UNIS for two weeks.  During that time Professor Pilipenko gave a lecture to the research staff and student in the group about the project.  The group visited the KHO and SuperDARN radar during their stay. A field excursion to Barentsberg was also arranged for Professor Pilipenko and Dr. Belakhovskii, along with Professor Lorentzen and Assoc. Professor Baddeley, from UNIS.  The party travelled to and from Barentsburg by snow mobile and spent overnight in Barentsburg.  A visit to the geophysical observatory (operated by PGI) and also the Kola Science Centre (operated by the Russian Academy of Sciences) was also arranged by Dr. Belakhovskii. A particular focus of the meeting was looking at dayside ULF waves observed on Svalbard (using ground magnetometer and photometer data) and how they relate to similar structures observed at lower latitudes. By comparing the frequency and structure of the waves it is possible to ascertain information regarding the shape of the Earth’s magnetic field and in particular if it is ‘open’ to that of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) from the Sun (allowing particles to enter into the Earth’s upper atmosphere from the Sun) or ‘closed’. Debate exists within the community however as to the location of the ‘open’ part of the magnetic field and it’s relation to the ULF waves.  This is one problem which this project hopes to address.

Prof. Vyacheslav Pilipenko delivers a lecture to the staff and student of the Space Physics Group at UNIS. Students from the Masters courses AGF-301 and AGF-304 also attended.

Dr. Vladimir Belakhovskii provides a summary of his recent work to the research group utilizing Tromsø and Svalbard EISCAT data.

A visit to the KHO and SuperDARN radars by the group (left to right): Assoc. Prof. Lisa Baddeley (UNIS), Prof. Vyacheslav Pilipenko (IPE), Prof. Dag Lorentzen (UNIS) and Dr. Vladimir Dr. Belakhovskii. The EISCAT Svalbard radars and the Advent valley can be seen in the background.

Standing by the sign to Barentsburg (left to right): Prof. Dag Lorentzen (UNIS), Prof. Vyacheslav Pilipenko (IPE) and Dr. Vladimir Dr. Belakhovskii

The Geophysical Observatory in Barentsburg.

Inside the geophysical observatory with one of the on-site engineers.

The group outside the geophysical observatory in Barentsburg and preparing to head into the town on the snow mobiles.

The group outside the geophysical observatory in Barentsburg and preparing to head into the town on the snow mobiles.

Assoc. Prof. Lisa Baddeley (UNIS) outside the Kola Science Centre in Barentsburg.

Inside the Kola Peninsula Science Centre enjoying some Russian hospitality and good discussions.


August 2016
Work from the project was presented at the VarSITI (Variability of the Sun and Its Terrestrial Impact) General Symposium in Bulgaria.

February 2016


Project members (from left to right): Dr. Olga Kozyreva (IPE), Prof. Dag Lorentzen (UNIS), Assoc. Prof. Lisa Baddeley (UNIS), Prof. Vyacheslav Pilipenko (IPE) with Prof. Anatoly Petrukovich (Head of Space Plasma Department at the Russian Academy of Sciences)

2 researchers, Professor Lorentzen and Assoc. Professor Baddeley, from UNIS visited IPE in Moscow. In addition to small workshops with scientists from the institute and the Polar Geophysical Institute, Professor Lorentzen and Assoc. Professor Baddeley gave an invited seminar at the Russian Academy of Sciences. The visit also included a private tour of the museum dedicated to Russian achievements in space research.


Prof. Dag Lorentzen (UNIS), Assoc. Prof. Lisa Baddeley (UNIS) with models of various Martian lander systems.

September 2015
Work from the project was presented at the Chapman Conference on Substorms held in Fairbanks, Alaska by PhD student Nataliya Nosikova (IPE).


PhD student Nataliya Nosikova (IPE) presenting research from the project at the Chapman Conference on Substorms in Fairbanks, Alaska.

September 2015
Work from the project was presented at the joint EISCAT / optical meeting held in Hermanus, South Africa.

May 2015
Dr. Olga Kozyreva and Nataliya Nosikova from IPE visited UNIS as part of the project.  This was the first exchange visit of the project.  A number of data workshops and meetings were held.  Presentations were also given detailing the work presented at the EGU meeting and also in preparation for the up and coming meetings in September.

April 2015
Work from the project was presented at the annual European Geophysical Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna by Nataliya Nosikova from IPE.