ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI GEOFISICA E VULCANOLOGIA (IT)
The purpose of the project is to investigate the turbulent nature of geomagnetic field and plasma parameters (electron density and temperature) in the ionosphere as recorded by the Swarm constellation during a period of 4 years (from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2018). Specifically, fluctuations of these quantities, as well as their scaling features, will be thoroughly investigated during different geomagnetic disturbance conditions to shed light on the role played by the magnetohydrodynamic turbulence in creating multi-scale plasma structures and inhomogeneties in the ionospheric environment at different latitudes. Focused analyses of the parameters recorded by the Swarm constellation are expected to provide a reliable characterisation of the nature and level of the ionospheric turbulence on a local scale, which can be displayed either along a single satellite orbit or through maps over the region of interest. The same parameters can be used also to study space-climatological variations of scaling features of the geomagnetic field and ionospheric plasma according to different interplanetary magnetic field orientations. Swarm measurements will give the opportunity to get a precise characterization of the different ionospheric turbulence regimes of the medium crossed by satellites on scales from hundreds of kilometres to a few kilometres, when considering low resolution data, and from tens of kilometres to a few meters, when considering data at the highest resolution. Ground-based observations from the SuperDARN network at high latitudes and the ENIGMA array at low-middle latitudes will complement Swarm data. The obtained results will be interpreted in the light of previously theoretical, numerical and observational published works. The analysis performed at high latitudes in both hemispheres will allow, for instance, a thorough investigation of the North-South asymmetries, while the analysis at mid and low latitudes will improve our understanding about the impact of magnetospheric ring current variations on the ionospheric plasma at Swarm altitudes. The investigation proposed in the framework of the project is an example of the excellent capability of Swarm data to provide new insights on the ionosphere-magnetosphere coupling.