GGOS Focus Area

Geodetic Space Weather Research


To put the aforementioned issues in a nutshell, the main objectives of the FA-GSWR are the

  1. development of improved ionosphere and plasmasphere models,
  2. development of improved thermosphere models,
  3. study of the coupled processes within the MIT system,
  4. improved understanding of space weather events and their monitoring by geodetic and non-geodetic space missions and techniques.

The first objective aims at the high-precision and the high-resolution (spatial and temporal) modelling of the electron density. This finally allows to compute a signal propagation delay, which will be used in many geodetic applications, in particular in positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) based on the use of the space geodetic observation techniques. Moreover, it is also important for other techniques using electromagnetic waves, such as satellite- or radio communications. Concerning the second objective, satellite geodesy will obviously benefit when working on precise orbit determination (POD), but there are further technical matters like collision analysis or re-entry calculation, which will become more reliable when using high quality thermosphere models. The third objective links the first two objectives by introducing physical laws and principles such as continuity, energy and momentum equations and solving partial differential equations to describe the thermosphere-ionosphere coupling processes. The fourth objective finally connects the improved understanding to the monitoring techniques and vice versa. Figure 2 visualizes the structure of the FA-GSWR including the magnetosphere which is the region of the space around the Earth where the dominant magnetic field is the Earth’s magnetic field, rather than the IMF. The bottom boxes in Fig. 2 show the products which should finally be provided as IAG (geodetic) products to the users for direct applications. Furthermore, Fig. 2 shows the places of the 4 newly installed Joint Study Groups (JSGs) of the FA-GSWR in the structure.

Figure 2: Structure of the IAG GGOS Focus Area on Geodetic Space Weather Research (FA-GSWR) including the components Magnetosphere, Plasmasphere, Ionosphere and Thermosphere as well as the 4 Joint Study Groups (JSG) of the FA-GSWR.