Study of Polar Electrodynamics Using the 2002-2003 Polar Patrol Balloons

Proposal Summary



This proposal describes a study of electrodynamic processes and auroral physics in the polar ionosphere. The scientific goals for this project are in the area of polar ionospheric electrodynamics and ionospheric convection. Specific topics of focus and interest include ULF waves and transient or impulsive phenomena, the mechanisms whereby high latitude phenomena and geomagnetic storms produce rapid electrodynamic responses at low latitudes, and a direct comparison of the balloon electric field data set with high latitude ionospheric potential distribution determined by other methods. The experiment involves three axis double probe electric field experiments that the Universities of Houston and Washington have been invited to provide to the Japanese Polar Patrol Balloon payloads to be launched simultaneously from Syowa and McMurdo Stations, Antarctica in December 2002. The payloads will also contain X ray detectors and science magnetometers with sufficient sensitivity to study geomagnetic micropulsations. The University of Washington's contribution will consist of constructing a one component VLF electric field receiver, writing an improved version of the on-board data reduction software, and data analysis and interpretation. The University of Houston portion of the work includes construction of the electric field instrumentation, leading the McMurdo part of the field operations in Antarctica, and data analysis and interpretation. The specific objectives of this proposal are: 1.~Construct 4 three-axis double probe electric field detectors suitable for use on high altitude balloon payloads. 2.~Integrate these experiments into the Polar Patrol Balloon payloads at ISAS near Tokyo. 3.~Conduct testing and evaluation of the payloads. 4.~At the end of year one and the start of year 2, conduct flight operations in Antarctica. 5.~In years 2 and 3, reduce, analyze and interpret the data. 6.~In year 3, participate in a data analysis workshop at NIPR in Tokyo.