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Electromagnetic Connection between the Sun and the Earth: Implications for Weather and Climate

Add Event to your Calendar Fri., Nov. 27, 2015 3:00 p.m. - Fri., Nov. 27, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Location: CL 317

Abstract:  Space weather is the study of how conditions in near-Earth space affect the upper atmosphere, in particular the ionosphere--the electrified layer of the atmosphere. Undulations of the solar current sheet, which emanates throughout the solar system, result in identifiable sectors in which the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is directed predominantly toward or away from the Sun. The shape of the IMF lines is similar to the water streams that spray from a spinning water sprinkler. At times a very clear correlation exists between the number of echoes recorded by the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) and the away/towards orientation of the IMF in which the Earth is immersed. Also affected is the total electron content from GPS and the atmospheric neutral density above 400 km altitude. Changes in tropospheric weather circulation have been linked to the passage of an away/toward sector boundary at Earth. The electromagnetic coupling from near-Earth space to the ionosphere will be essential in understanding space weather influences on weather and climate at the Earth's surface. This is also a much more direct connection than is currently widely believed to influence climate. 

Speaker:  Kathryn McWilliams, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, University of Saskatchewan