Space Weather

The research in the Space Weather group concentrates on the near-Earth space and phenomena bound to it, such as aurora borealis. The work in the group aims at understanding the physics behind space weather phenomena and at using the accumulated know-how to develop services for the society. The group specializes in using models and computer simulations to interpret satellite and ground-based data.

sun, satellite and magnetosphere

Image: Tiera Laitinen, Soho(ESA and Nasa), Nasa
 

The space weather group at the Finnish Meteorological Institute has a long history in interpreting data on space phenomena. From the 19th century measurements of the geomagnetic field we advanced to satellite measurements in the late 20th century. From geomagnetism our field of research has expanded to magnetospheres and plasma environments of various solar system bodies.

The group uses particle and electromagnetic field measurements from several Earth-orbiting satellites and space probes, on-going missions as well as completed ones. The special strong point in the expertise of the group is to combine in situ space measurements with ground-based datasets, such as ionospheric radar measurements and auroral images from full-sky cameras.

Space weather phenomena are not limited to the Earth's magnetosphere, since the Sun's radiation and solar wind affect all solar system bodies in the same way.  Thus the group actively exploits measurements done by the instruments that the Finnish Meteorological Institute has built for many planetary and cometary space probes. These measurements tell us, among other things, about the atmospheric erosion at Mars and Venus.

The group specializes in modern numerical simulations. Global computer models developed by the group are used to study space weather phenomena and their effects at Earth, Mercury, Venus, Moon and Mars.

Some research programmes that we are involved in