Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

4DSpace: integrated study for space weather at high latitudes

Project description

Improved space weather models at high latitudes

The polar ionosphere is a dynamic region that readily responds to changes in solar irradiance, the solar wind, the magnetosphere and space plasma. Understanding the physical processes that give rise to the scintillation of radio wave signals that cross the ionosphere is key to determining space weather. The EU-funded POLAR-4DSpace project plans to investigate how auroral particle precipitations and geomagnetic activity create plasma irregularities at high latitudes and how these affect the global navigation satellite system. The project integrates in situ measurements of plasma from sounding rockets, numerical simulations and statistical analysis with ground- and satellite-based observations at both hemispheres. The results will provide a valuable foundation for developing accurate space weather models that will increase the security of operations in the polar regions.


Ionosphere is the partially ionized, outermost part of the Earth’s atmosphere. Its dynamics is inherently complex and affected by dynamic conditions in the solar wind. In the polar regions, it is directly coupled to the Earth’s magnetosphere and space plasma. The polar ionosphere is subject to the auroral particle precipitation, instabilities and turbulence, which all influence the energy transfer through the ionosphere and lead to plasma density irregularities which lead to scintillations of trans-ionospheric radio signals. Irregularities span over a large range of scales, from thousands of kilometers down to centimeters, making their investigation a highly challenging task. The state of ionosphere at high latitudes is a crucial aspect of the space weather, which has important impact on today’s society, in particular in the context of increasing shipping, aviation, and other operations in the Arctic. Understanding processes in the polar ionosphere, their technological impacts, and laying foundations for robust models for forecasting space weather effects are one of the major goals in space science. This project will determine the role of auroral particle precipitations and geomagnetic activity for the development of plasma irregularities at high latitudes, and their impacts on the global navigation satellite systems. Through an integrated approach, combining in-situ measurements by sounding rockets with novel multi-payloads, cutting-edge numerical simulations, and statistical studies with ground- and satellite-based observations at both hemispheres, it will provide groundbreaking understanding of plasma irregularities in the polar ionosphere, give insight into the energy transfer in the ionosphere, and lay foundations for the space weather models that will improve security of operations in the polar regions. The project is across scientific domains: it deals with the Earth’s Ionosphere, the near-Earth space environment, and fundamental processes in plasma physics.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 999 111,00
Problemveien 5-7
0313 Oslo

See on map

Norge Oslo og Viken Oslo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)