Simulating Ionospheric Perturbations and Wave Interactions
Satellites provide data and services that are essential to modern society. Our civilian, commercial, and defence capability rely on continued and assured access to space-based infrastructure. The space environment, however, is harsh and represents a significant threat to the operation of such satellites. Collision with space debris, damage to spacecraft components through electrostatic discharge, and communication disruption from atmospheric anomalies are daily threats facing satellite systems and their operators. Improving our ability to predict changes in the space environment is therefore crucial if we are to protect our important space-based assets.
Changes in the ionosphere have been linked to various natural and artificial atmospheric perturbations. These include earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, lightning, rocket launches, and explosions. Such effects may be mediated by gravity waves or acoustic waves propagating from the lower atmosphere. Large changes in the ionosphere can adversely affect communication with satellites and the operation of over the horizon radar systems.
This project will simulate the effect of these disturbances on the ionosphere through atmospheric waves. This will include development of numerical methods for propagating atmospheric waves from their source to the ionosphere. These waves will be coupled to a global circulation model of the coupled ionosphere-thermosphere system.