• Hot flow anomalies at earth's bow shock and their magnetospheric-ionospheric signatures

      Chu, Christina Seiman; Zhang, Hui; Otto, Antonius; Ng, Chung-Sang; Sibeck, David (2017-08)
      Hot flow anomalies (HFAs) are typically observed upstream of bow shocks. They are characterized by a significant increase in particle temperature and substantial flow deflection from the solar wind flow direction coinciding with a decrease in density. HFAs are important to study and understand because they may play an important role in solar wind-magnetosphere coupling. They may drive magnetopause motion, boundary waves, and flux transfer events. They can excite ultra low frequency waves in the magnetosphere, drive magnetic impulse events in the ionosphere, and trigger aurora brightening or dimming. Studying HFAs will aid in the understanding of fundamental processes that operate throughout the heliosphere such as particle energization and shocks. This dissertation presents statistical and case studies of hot flow anomalies identified in Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms (THEMIS) satellite data from 2007-2009. The characteristics and occurrence of HFAs, their dependence on solar wind/interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) conditions and location, and their magnetospheric-ionospheric signatures, have been investigated using in-situ spacecraft observations and ground based observations. THEMIS observations show that HFAs span a wide range of magnetic local times (MLTs) from approximately 7 to 16.5 MLT. HFAs were observed up to 6.3 Earth radii (RE) upstream from the bow shock. It has been found that the HFA occurrence rate depends on solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) conditions as well as distance from the bow shock. HFA occurrence decreases with distance upstream from the bow shock. HFAs are more prevalent when there is an approximately radial interplanetary magnetic field. No HFAs were observed when the Mach number was less than 5, suggesting there is a minimum threshold Mach number for HFAs to form. HFAs occur most preferentially for solar wind speeds from 550-600 km/s. Multiple THEMIS spacecraft observations of the same HFA provide an excellent opportunity to perform a spatial and temporal analysis of an HFA. The leading edge, tangential discontinuity inside the HFA, and trailing shock boundaries for the event were identified. The boundaries' orientations and motion through space were characterized. The HFA expansion against the solar wind was 283 km/s. The spatial structure of the HFA was deduced from multiple spacecraft observations. The HFA is thicker closer to the bow shock. The magnetospheric-ionospheric signatures of an HFA have been investigated using in-situ spacecraft observations and ground based observations. Magnetic field perturbations were observed by three GOES spacecraft at geostationary orbit and high-latitude ground magnetometers in both hemispheres. Observations from magnetometers located at different MLTs showed that the perturbation propagates tailward at 0.32°/s or 9 km/s (1.27°/s or 21 km/s) for the northern (southern) hemisphere, which is consistent with an HFA propagating tailward along the dawn flank. SuperDARN radar observations showed a change in plasma velocity shortly after the HFA was observed by THEMIS.
    • Ionospheric correction of interferometric SAR data with application to the cryospheric sciences

      Liao, Heming; Meyer, Franz J.; Freymueller, Jeffrey T.; Tape, Carl; Watkins, Brenton (2018-08)
      The ionosphere has been identified as an important error source for spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and SAR Interferometry (InSAR), especially for low frequency SAR missions, operating, e.g., at L-band or P-band. Developing effective algorithms for the correction of ionospheric effects is still a developing and active topic of remote sensing research. The focus of this thesis is to develop robust and accurate techniques for ionospheric correction of SAR and InSAR data and evaluate the benefit of these techniques for cryospheric research fields such as glacier ice velocity tracking and permafrost deformation monitoring. As both topics are mostly concerned with high latitude areas where the ionosphere is often active and characterized by turbulence, ionospheric correction is particularly relevant for these applications. After an introduction to the research topic in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 will discuss open issues in ionospheric correction including processing issues related to baseline-induced spectrum shifts. The effect of large baseline on split spectrum InSAR technique has been thoroughly evaluated and effective solutions for compensating this effect are proposed. In addition, a multiple sub-band approach is proposed for increasing the algorithm robustness and accuracy. Selected case studies are shown with the purpose of demonstrating the performance of the developed algorithm. In Chapter 3, the developed ionospheric correction technology is applied to optimize InSAR-based ice velocity measurements over the big ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic. Selected case studies are presented to demonstrate and validate the effectiveness of the proposed correction algorithms for ice velocity applications. It is shown that the ionosphere signal can be larger than the actual glacier motion signal in the interior of Greenland and Antarctic, emphasizing the necessity for operational ionospheric correction. The case studies also show that the accuracy of ice velocity estimates was significantly improved once the developed ionospheric correction techniques were integrated into the data processing flow. We demonstrate that the proposed ionosphere correction outperforms the traditionally-used approaches such as the averaging of multi-temporal data and the removal of obviously affected data sets. For instance, it is shown that about one hundred multi-temporal ice velocity estimates would need to be averaged to achieve the estimation accuracy of a single ionosphere-corrected measurement. In Chapter 4, we evaluate the necessity and benefit of ionospheric-correction for L-band InSAR-based permafrost research. In permafrost zones, InSAR-based surface deformation measurements are used together with geophysical models to estimate permafrost parameters such as active layer thickness, soil ice content, and permafrost degradation. Accurate error correction is needed to avoid biases in the estimated parameters and their co-variance properties. Through statistical analyses of a large number of L-band InSAR data sets over Alaska, we show that ionospheric signal distortions, at different levels of magnitude, are present in almost every InSAR dataset acquired in permafrost-affected regions. We analyze the ionospheric correction performance that can be achieved in permafrost zones by statistically analyzing correction results for large number of InSAR data. We also investigate the impact of ionospheric correction on the performance of the two main InSAR approaches that are used in permafrost zones: (1) we show the importance of ionospheric correction for permafrost deformation estimation from discrete InSAR observations; (2) we demonstrate that ionospheric correction leads to significant improvements in the accuracy of time-series InSAR-based permafrost products. Chapter 5 summarizes the work conducted in this dissertation and proposes next steps in this field of research.
    • Studying auroral microphysics using multiple optically tracked rocket sub-payloads

      Vann, Joshua M.; Conde, Mark; Delamere, Peter; Hampton, Donald (2018-12)
      There is insufficient knowledge of scale length parameters associated with ionospheric plasma structures. Using a novel technique combining rocket-based instrument data with ground-based optical and instrumental data measurements, ISINGLASS attempts to determine the spatial scale lengths over which parameter differences in auroral arcs present in the upper ionosphere. Determination of such scale lengths has the propensity to strengthen preexisting models of magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions. While analysis is not complete and the extent of such scale lengths is still unknown, after completion of the experiment phase of the mission, differences in measurements have been found that cannot be accounted for through experimental error. This shows the existence of a critical scale length within the distances measured, and the techniques used present a reliable method with which to launch a future campaign.