Theory and Modelling Group

Post 4: Magnetic Storms - Dr Richard Horne/Dr Mervyn Freeman


Magnetic storms cause disruption to radio communications, power supplies, and can result in damage to spacecraft. During a magnetic storm, energetic particles are injected into the earth's magnetic field and drift around the planet. Since electrons and ions drift in opposite directions, this results in a current, known as the ring current, the presence of which can be detected on the ground by measuring variations in the surface magnetic field. Measurements at low-latitudes are combined into a ring current index (Dst) in which storms can be identified from a well known characteristic signature. However, at high latitudes there are additional current systems which flow and as a result there is no well defined index from which magnetic storms can be identified. The purpose of this project is to perform statistical analyses of magnetic data from our high latitude Antarctic stations, and from other locations, to see if an index can be found from which a characteristic signature of magnetic storms can be identified.


Some knowledge of unix and fortran is required, and ideally some knowledge of writing IDL and web based programmes. Applicants should state their computing experience, languages, computer systems etc., on their applications. In return the student will learn about solar-terrestrial physics and will gain some experience in scientific research.


The appointment will be for 10 weeks.