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
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

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).


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.