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AFRL-AFOSR-JP-TR-2017-0028 



Investigating the role of sub-auroral polarization stream electric field in coupled 
magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere systemwide processes 


lldiko Horvath 

THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND 


04/04/2017 
Final Report 


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Final 


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01 Jun 2015 to 01 Dec 2016 


4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE 

Investigating the role of sub-auroral polarization stream electric field in coupled 
magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere systemwide processes 


5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 


5b. GRANT NUMBER 

FA2386-15-1-4043 


5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 

61102F 


6. AUTHOR(S) 

lldiko Horvath 


5d. PROJECT NUMBER 


5e. TASK NUMBER 


5f. WORK UNIT NUMBER 


7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 

THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND 
UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND 
BRISBANE, 4072 AU 


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9. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 

AOARD 

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AFRL/AFOSR IOA 


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AFRL-AFOSR-JP-TR-2017-0028 


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14. ABSTRACT 

The proposed research is to investigate energy deposition into theionosphere (I) and thermosphere (T) system and related underlying 
physical processes during geomagnetic storms with the goal to improve current scientific understanding of high-latitude energetics by 
providing new insights. PI team has investigated a number of geomagnetic storms and magnetically disturbed time periods, and the various 
ionospheric plasma density features appearing such as storm enhanced density (SED), mid-latitude trough, and polar tongue of ionization 
(TOI). 


15. SUBJECT TERMS 

ionosphere, AOARD 


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a. REPORT 

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c. THIS PAGE 

ABSTRACT 

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HONG, SENG 

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4/6/2017 































Final Report for AOARD Grant FA2386-15-1-4043 
Investigating the role of sub-auroral polarization stream electric field in coupled magnetosphere- 
ionosphere-thermosphere systemwide processes 

Date: 8 March 2017 

Name of Principle Investigator: Dr. Ildiko HORVATH 
Emal: ihorvath@itee.uq.edu.au 

Institution: School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering 
Address: The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, QLD, Australia 
Period of Performance: 1 June 2015 to 30 November 2016 
AOARD Program Manager: Dr Seng Hong 

I. ) Abstract: 

This research is focused on the coupled system of Magnetosphere (M), Ionosphere (I), and 
Thermosphere (T). During this 18 month project, we conducted detailed studies on coupled M-I-T 
processes occurring during geomagnetic storms and made significant progress in the understanding 
of some of the underlying physical processes. Our attention was focused on M-I-T storm-time 
responses, how the magnetospheric input energy dissipates in the coupled I-T system, and how the 
sub-auroral polarization stream (SAPS) electric (E) field and subauroral ion drift (SAID) vary 
during storm times in the coupled M-I-T system. In order to further our investigations, we added 
thermospheric measurements to our database. Such measurements are provided by the Challenging 
Mini-satellite Payload (CHAMP) satellite. We developed a software package to manage and 
automatically handle the CHAMP data files. A procedure was also designed to present the CHAMP 
data in the best possible ways. Our last study is focused on investigating thermospheric responses 
and specifying thermospheric mass density features occurring under various magnetic conditions. 

II. ) Investigations carried out: 

(1) Investigating how the solar wind energy becomes transferred to the coupled M-I system 
during the 1-2 October 2001 geomagnetic storm events (J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, 
doi:10.1002/2015JA022283): 

Introduction: 

More recently Huang et al. [2014a; 2014b] investigated energy transfer from the 
magnetosphere to the coupled I-T system during geomagnetic storms by utilizing Poynting flux 
measurements. According to their northern-hemisphere results, Poynting flux enhancements at 
polar and auroral latitudes were similar. Furthermore, the primary location of thermospheric 
heating by Joule heat was located at ~83°N (magnetic) latitude in the central polar cap. These new 
results of Huang et al. [2014a; 2014b] demonstrate that the polar cap plays a key role in various M- 
I-T coupling processes, particularly during magnetic storms. 

Huang, Y., C. Y. Huang, Y.-J. Su, Y. Deng, and X. Fang (2014a), Ionization due to electron and 
proton precipitation during the August 2011 storm, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 3106- 
3116, doi:10.1002/2013JA019671. 

Huang, C. Y., Y.-J. Su, E. K. Sutton, D. R. Weimer, and R. L. Davidson (2014b), Energy coupling 
during the August 2011 magnetic storm, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 119, 1219-1232, 
doi: 10.1002/2013JA019297. 

Results and Conclusions: 

In our study we focused on the structure created by the storm enhanced density (SED) and 
polar tongue of ionization (TOI) over North America during the 1-2 October 2001 geomagnetic 
storm events. Our northern-hemisphere observational results demonstrate that 1) Joule heating 
intensifications occurred under southward B z conditions during active dayside merging in the 
central polar cap, close to the magnetic pole, 2) these Joule heating intensifications became 
significantly intensified in the polar TOI region (see Figure 1 shown below) possibly due to the 

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polar TOI related high convection E field and large ionospheric conductivity, 3) these Joule heating 
intensifications minimised in the absence of polar TOI (see Figure 1), and 4) the polar TOI was 
present (absent) during intensive (weak) dayside merging. From our results we concluded that 
energy deposition occurred at multiple points and the magnetic North Pole appeared to be one of the 
preferred places. In the central polar cap, Qj ou ie and ion temperature (Ti) intensified significantly 
(or moderately) in the presence (or absence) of polar TOI. Thus, the efficiency of input energy 
(EI e ff) could be used as a diagnostic of the intensity of polar TOI, and the thermosphere might be 
intensively (or moderately) impacted during dayside merging when the polar TOI is present (or 
absent). 


2 October 2001 


1 October 2001 





TOI 

(d) 


Geogr. 
Lat. (ON) 


(a) 

Qjouie 

(W/kg) 


magnetic North Pole 

TIE-GCM: altitude = 350 km; time = 2020 UT 


(C) 


TIE-GCM: altitude = 350 km; time = 1940 UT 


Geographic Longitude (°E) 


Geographic Longitude (°E) 


Legend: 

— magnetic meridian, 

-o- SED, -o- trough, -Q- polar TOI, -o- Thule 


-o-o- auroral oval boundaries at 2000 UT, -o-o- HMB at 1900 U1 


(b) & (d) GPS TEC (TECU) 



130+ 

94 to 106 

| 59 to 70 

| 23 to 35 

118 to 130 

f$ 82 to 94 

I 47 to 59 

11 to 23 

106 to 118 

| 70 to 82 

| 35 to 47 

0 to 11 


(b) & (d) Ni * 

1,000 (i+/cm3) 




800+ 

581 to 654 

| 363 to 436 

■ 

145 to 218 

727 to 800 

| 509 to 581 

1 290 to 363 

0 

72 to 145 

654 to 727 

| 436 to 509 

| 218 to 290 


Oto 72 


Figure 1: (a) and (c) The Qj ou ie line plot show the variation of Joule heating at 80°N (geographic) 
latitude in the presence and absence of polar tongue of ionization (TOI). Enhanced (or minimal) 
Joule heating in the region of magnetic pole is apparent when the polar TOI was present (or absent), 
(b) and (d) Each northern hemisphere map shows the modelled magnetic field lines, the auroral oval 
boundaries or equatorward oval boundary, and the ground track of DMSP FI3 pass crossing the 
magnetic North Pole. The GPS TEC map detected the polar TOI on 2 October 2001 and minimum 
polar TEC values (i.e. absence of polar TOI) on 1 October 2001. 


(2) Investigating the coupling of dayside and nightside magnetic local time (MLT) sectors 
across the polar cap by flow channels (FCs) (J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, 
doi:10.1002/2016JA023109): 


Introduction: 

Recent studies [Nishimura et al., 2014; Lyons et al., 2015] show that nightside auroral oval 
intensifications are triggered by flow channels (FCs) from deep in the polar cap and occur at the 
contact longitude. These findings suggest 1) a significant energy input to the nightside auroral zone 
by FCs, 2) the coupling of dayside and nightside MLT sectors across the polar cap by FCs, and 3) 
some flow bursts that might originate from localized dayside reconnection and propagate across the 
polar cap where they trigger localized nightside reconnection and flow burst within the plasma 
sheet. 


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Lyons, L. R., et al. (2015), Azimuthal flow bursts in the inner plasma sheet and possible connection 
with SAPS and plasma sheet earthward flow bursts, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 5009- 
5021 ,doi: 10.1002/2015JA021023. 

Nishimura, Y., et al. (2014), Day-night coupling by a localized flow channel visualized by polar cap 
patch propagation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 3701-3709, doi:10.1002/2014GL060301. 

Results and Conclusions: 

Although these above mentioned studies provide very detailed investigations of FCs, the 
variation of ion temperature (Ti) and upward drift (Vz) in FCs and during dayside-nightside 
coupling has not yet been investigated. Our main aim in this study was to investigate FCs occurring 
at sub-auroral, auroral, and polar latitudes on 1 October 2001 during the recovery phase of the 30 
September - 1 October 2001 medium geomagnetic storm. We focused on the southern hemisphere 
because of the good sets of observational results provided by the various DMSP spacecraft. As 
shown in Figure 2 below, our results demonstrate 1) the occurrence of a FC-2 type flow channel in 
the central polar cap (indicated as shaded interval in yellow), 2) the propagation of localized FC 
(indicated as shaded interval in blue) from the dayside to the nightside across the polar cap implying 
dayside-nightside coupling across the polar cap, and 3) the local intensifications of Ti and V z in the 
various types of FCs tracked. From these results we concluded that the important phenomena 
occurring in the polar cap during the time period invested were the 1) elevated Ti in various FCs, 2) 
increased upward drift (V z ) in various FCs, and 3) dayside-nightside coupling across the polar cap 
and its impact on the nightside sub-auroral region. 



magnetic equator; dip equator; 
- magnetic meridian 


Geogr. 
Lat. (°N) 




V Y (m/s) 


F14-10 


-i.oocr 


50( r upward 
V Z (m/s) 0 : 


Geographic Latitude (OS) 


Legend: •/T trough; * magnetic pole; FC-2; • FC-3; 
♦ Vostok; ♦ Scott Base 

(c) 


1 October 2001; — F14-09 


1 October 2001; — 


Ti (K) 


2,0C 

1,OOC 


2016-1917 

MLT 


7.00 


5.500- 




4,000- 


2,500- 


1.000 


6,00 


4,00 


2,00 


2.00C 


48 63 78' 

Geographic Latitude (°S) 


200 - 

Ni 

(10 3 i + /cm3) ; 

100 - 


2018-1923 

MLT 


-1,OOC 


-2.00C - 
50C r 
Cf- 
-50<±- 
- 1 , 00 (^ 


7,00 


5.50 


,00 


Te (K) 


2.500 i 


Figure 2: [a] The southern hemisphere map shows the ground tracks of DMSP passes F14-09 and 
F14-10 utilized, central polar cap magnetometer stations at Vostok and Scott Base, and the locations 
of various FCs and trough detected. [b]-[c] The DMSP line plot series depict the polar region during 
the various FC events occurring. FCs tracked by the Vy line plots are marked as shaded intervals in 
yellow and blue. 


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(3) Investigating structured subauroral polarization streams (SAPS) and related auroral 
undulations (J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JA022057): 

Introduction: 

Recent studies, based on satellite and radar observations, show that both the subauroral 
polarization streams (SAPS) and the trough can be quite irregular, displaying structures [e.g. Mishin 
et al., 2003, 2004], Their resultant features are specified as SAPS wave structures (SAPS-WS) 
[Mishin et al., 2003] and irregular troughs [Mishin et al., 2004], An irregular trough can be 
characterized by an equatorward part marked by enhanced electron temperatures and by a poleward 
part coinciding with strong SAPS-WS, ring current precipitations, and strong vertical ion flows 
[Mishin et al., 2004], 

Mishin, E. V., W. J. Burke, C. Y. Huang, and F. J. Rich (2003), Electromagnetic wave structures 
within subauroral polarization streams, J. Geophys. Res., 108(A8), 1309, 
doi: 10.1029/2002J A009793. 

Mishin, E., W. Burke, and A. Viggiano (2004), Stormtime subauroral density troughs: Ion-molecule 
kinetics effects, J. Geophys. Res., 109, A10301, doi:10.1029/2004JA010438. 

Results and Conclusions: 

Our main aim was to investigate how the development of mid-latitude trough and auroral zone 
became impacted by the simultaneously occurring SAPS-WS. Our results show that 1) SAPS-WS 
significantly enhanced and structured the trough’s poleward edge, 2) SAPS-WS impacted more 
intensively the stagnation trough than the trough created by chemical recombination only, 3) SAPS- 
related sunward drift was stronger in the deeper stagnation trough due to the feedback mechanisms, 
and 4) SAPS-WS developed as a response to auroral processes. We also highlighted an interesting 
scenario (see Figure 3 below) demonstrating that the entire trough became embedded in the SAPS- 


Figure 3: [a] The map shows the 
DMSP spacecraft’s ground track 
passing over the magnetic North Pole. 
The section illustrated with 
spectrograms is highlighted in pink. 

[b] The ion and electron spectrograms 
tracked the signatures of precipitating 
ring current ions (abbreviated as Prec.- 
RC ions), CPS, and BPS with its 
structured and unstructured region-1 
and -2 respectively, [c] The line plots 
illustrate the structured equatorward 
(indicated as shaded interval in light 
green) and poleward (indicated as 
shaded interval in light blue) trough 
regions and the underlying SAPS-WS 
(indicated as shaded interval in 
yellow). 

MLT(Hr): 18.50 18.46 18.38 18.16 16.69 

Based on the analysis of the four SAPS-WS events presented in this study, our new findings 
were as follows. 1) The stagnation trough promoted stronger SAPS E field development and 
enhanced the impact of SAPS-WS on the trough itself. 2) SAPS-WS impacted not only the entire 
trough bottom but the trough’s solar produced poleward region as well, and thus produced not only 
steep plasma density gradients but increased plasma densities as well. 3) The undulating sunward 


WS wherein the sunward drift (Vy) reached 2,000 m/s. 



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auroral drifts both in the structured auroral zone and in the unstructured auroral zone led to SAPS- 
WS development demonstrating a strong driver-response relationship. 


(4) Investigating the development of double-peak subauroral ion drift (DSAID) (J. Geophys. 
Res. Space Physics, doi:2016JA023506; accepted with minor corrections): 

Introduction: 

The double-peak subauroral ion drift (DSAID) [He et al., 2016] is a newly described 
phenomenon. DSAID can be regarded as a subclass of the SAID events and appears as a narrow 
(4°-5° in MLAT) double-peak feature in the sunward drift and develops during magnetically more 
disturbed times such as during the substorm recovery phase compared to SAID [He et al., 2016]. 
DSAID evolves during a two-stage process. As one of our scenarios demonstrates (see Figure 4 
below) during stage-1, representing the initiation of DSAID [He et al., 2016], a strong SAID 
appears in the pre-midnight MLT sector that later on, during stage-2, turns into a well-developed 
and often symmetric DSAID (>1,000 m/s). As the DSAID progression process continues after 
stage-2, DSAID fades away or its two peaks merge into a single peak that finally disappears. 


He, F., X.-X. Zhang, W. Wang, and B. Chen (2016), Double-peak subauroral ion drifts (DSAIDs), 
Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 5554-5562, doi:10.1002/2016GL069133. 

14 September 2005; F15-05 


Legend: — magnetic meridian 

•O-O-auroral oval boundaries at 1200 UT 



Geographic 
Latitude f S) 


14 September 2005; F15-06 


65 8(9 

Geographic Latitude pS) 

14 September 2005; FI5-07 



Figure 4: The ground tracks of DMSP passes employed are shown [a] with the auroral oval 
boundaries and with the modelled magnetic field lines and dip equator, while the positions of mid¬ 
latitude trough (indicate as red dot) are also mapped, and [b] in GLON vs GLAT and MLT vs 
MLAT polar maps. The line plot sets of Ni (10 3 xi + /cm 3 ), V Y (m/s) and V z (m/s), and B Y (nT) and 
B z (nT) illustrate polar cross sections depicting the mid-latitude trough (indicated as T and red dot) 
and the evolution of DSAID during scenario-4 on 14 September 2005. Shaded intervals mark the 
various features of interest. The blue vertical arrows indicate R1 FACs and related return currents. 
The black vertical arrow marks the latitude of spacecraft turning. 


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Results and Conclusions: 

Our main aim was to investigate five DSAID scenarios in detail in order to explore the state of 
the polar region, to identify the accompanying FC types and their possible roles in DSAID 
development, and to specify the behavior of the short-circuited systems underlying DSAID. 
According to our findings, these five scenarios reveal that DSAID development occurred during 
flux transfer events (FTEs) and in a short-circuited system acting sometimes as a current generator 
and sometimes as a voltage generator, and was associated with various types of FCs appearing in 
the auroral zone (Eastward-FC, FC-0, FC-4) and polar cap region (FC-2, FC-3). While FC-2 was 
associated with dayside magnetopause reconnection, FC-3 was related to nightside magnetotail 
reconnections. From these findings we concluded that, in agreement with current studies and 
theories, DSAID can also be regarded as a turbulent plasmaspheric layer formed by the short- 
circuiting of the substorm injected hot plasma (or plasmoid) over the plasmasphere. As shown by 
the various scenarios, this short-circuited system acted sometimes as a current generator and 
sometimes as a voltage generator. 

(5) Investigating the polar ionosphere during the development of neutral density 
enhancements on 24-25 September 2000 (J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, doi:2016JA023799, 
under review): 

Introduction: 

Coupled M-I processes impact thermospheric dynamics and produce large variabilities in 
thermospheric temperature, neutral density, and neutral winds. With the launch of CHAMP satellite 
on 15 July 2000, providing continuous and high-resolution accelerometer and magnetometer 
measurements globally, thermospheric responses and their possible M-I drivers could be studied in 
such details that had not been possible before. First CHAMP observations of Llihr et al. [2004] 
documents the detection of some significant localized neutral density enhancements, appearing as 
spikes and reaching twice of the surrounding values. CHAMP tracked these enhancements under 
moderately disturbed magnetic conditions in the region of the dayside cusp where magnetospheric 
plasma has direct access to the lower altitude ionosphere. The simultaneously measured underlying 
Hall currents and small-scale (SS) field aligned currents (FACs) also showed local enhancements. 
This led to the conjecture that local E-region Joule heating, fuelled by SS-FACs, could be the 
ionospheric driver of density spikes by heating the neutral atmosphere at a lower altitudes and thus 
producing neutral air upwelling in the cusp region [Llihr et al., 2004], But there is no detailed event 
study carried out on the solar wind (SW) and IMF conditions of 25 September 2000, providing the 
first CHAMP observations, and on the state of the polar region during that time. 

Llihr, H., M. Rother, W. Kohler, P. Ritter, and L. Grunwaldt (2004), Thermospheric up-welling in 
the cusp region: Evidence from CHAMP observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L06805, 
doi: 10.1029/2003GL019314. 

Results and Conclusions: 

Our main goal was to fill the above described gap in the literature by investigating the coupled 
SW-M-I-T processes occurring on the days of 24-25 September 2000 and the state of the polar cap 
region in the context of the polar convection cycle. Our results show that 1) a weak magnetic storm 
(SYM-H Mm ~-27 nT) had been unfolding on 25 September 2000 that started on the previous day, 24 
September, 2) some significant flux transfer events (FTEs) occurred on these two days while the 
magnetic storm evolved, 3) the CHAMP detected northern density spikes on 25 September occurred 
in or near FC-2 type flow channels (see Figure 5 below), 4) CHAMP detected similar density spikes 
on the previous day, 24 September, in the southern polar region and a broader neutral density 
enhancement in the northern polar region. From our results we conclude that all the spikes 
investigated occurred during FTEs and direct SW-M-I-T coupling played a crucial role in the 
development of the various underlying current systems. These include the inward C2-Pedersen 
(Cl-Pedersen) current system in FC-2 underlying the density spike in the north (south), the inward 


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L2-Pedersen current system in FC-4 underlying a smaller neutral density enhancement in the north, 
and the SS FACs embedded in the morning C1-C2 and evening L1-L2 FAC systems. 

25 September 2000; Time period: 0700 -0730 UT 



DMSP F13-04 



Figure 5: [a] The northern map illustrates the ground tracks of DMSP and CHAMP passes and the 
locations of features of interest. [b]-[c] The multi-instrument line plot series show the neutral 
density spike (indicated as shaded interval in light blue) with underlying winds detected by 
CHAMP and the state of the polar cap characterized by a FC-2 type flow channel (indicated as 
shaded interval in yellow) and detected by DMSP. FC-4 is indicated by the shaded interval in light 
magenta. The projected neutral density spike position, indicated by the shaded interval in light blue 
and situated close to FC-2, is also shown in the DMSP line plot series. 

III.) List of publications funded by AOARD Grant FA2386-15-1-4043: 
a) Papers published in peer-reviewed journals: 

1. Journal Name: J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JA022057. 

Title: Structured subauroral polarization streams and related auroral undulations occurring on 
the storm day of 21 January 2005. 

Date of online publication: 3 FEB 2016 
Authors: Horvath, I., and B. C. Lovell 

2. Journal Name: J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JA022283. 

Title: Polar tongue of ionization (TOI) and associated Joule heating intensification investigated 
during themagnetically disturbed period of 1-2 October 2001. 

Date of online publication: 8 JUN 2016 
Authors: Horvath, I., and B. C. Lovell 

3. Journal Name: J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, doi: 2016JA023506. 

Title: Investigating the development of double-peak subauroral ion drift (DSAID). 

Date of online publication: 12 AUG 2016 
Authors: Horvath, I., and B. C. Lovell 


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b) Papers published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings: 

None 

c) Papers published in non-peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings: 

None 

d) Conference presentations without papers: 

None 

e) Manuscripts submitted to peer-reviewed journals but not yet published: 

1. Journal Name: J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, doi:2016JA023506. 

Title: Investigating the development of double-peak subauroral ion drift (DSAID). 

Date received: 23 September 2016 
Authors: Horvath, I., and B. C. Lovell 

2. Journal Name: J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 121, doi:2016JA023799. 

Title: Investigating the polar ionosphere during the development of neutral density 
enhancements on 24-25 September 2000. 

Date received: 14 December 2016 
Authors: Horvath, I., and B. C. Lovell 

f) List any interactions with industry or with Air Force Research Laboratory scientists 
significant collaborations that resulted from this work. 

IV) . Seminars presented 

1. Even Name: Visit of Dr Brian Lutz, AOARD/AFOSR Science Program Manager, to UQ, 
Brisbane, Australia 

Title: Investigating Coupled Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Processes 
Date: 28 October 2015 
Presenter: Dr Ildiko Horvath 

2. Even Name: Visit of Dr Tim Lawrence, Head of AFOSR International, to UNSW, Sydney, 
Australia 

Title: Investigating Space Weather 
Date: 22 February 2016 
Presenter: Prof Brian Lovell 

3. Even Name: 2016 Joint CEDAR-GEM Workshop, Eldorado Hotel and Santa Fe Convention 
Center, Santa Fe, NM, USA 

Title: Flow channel events during the 31 August 2005 geomagnetic storm 
Date: 19-24 June 2016 

Presenter: Dr Cheryl Huang, Senior Research Physicist, AFRL/RVBXP, Kirtland AFB, NM, 
USA 

V) . Award for best paper, poster: 

None 

VI.) Award of fund received related to your research efforts: 

None 

VII). Attachments: Publications a) 


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