The Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) Program is a focused Global Change program sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Division to enhance the capability of ground-based instruments to measure the upper atmosphere and to coordinate instrument and model data for the benefit of the scientific community. 

The 2021 CEDAR Workshop was held virtually on June 20-25, 2021.

Katherine Davidson, doctoral candidate in the Space Science Department at UAH, won 2nd prize in the contest out of 72 student posters. Davidson's research is titled Investigating Ionosphere-Thermosphere Coupling in the Nightside Auroral Oval.

cropped 2021 cedar winner davidson

Ionosphere-Thermosphere coupling is an important mechanism for dissipating the large amount of energy deposited into the high-latitude ionosphere from the magnetosphere. During periods of high geomagnetic activity, a convective electric field causes sudden changes in plasma velocity, which drives neutral winds through ion-neutral collisions. Thermospheric winds are known to follow, but generally lag behind and exhibit a velocity much smaller than the ionospheric convection. Therefore, in the current study we investigate ion-neutral coupling as a function of geomagnetic activity levels by using PFISR and SDI data for ion velocity and neutral wind velocity. Event selection requires clear sky conditions and exhibits a sudden change in ion velocity. The time and magnitude of the neutral wind response to changes in ion velocity are compared to the SYM-H and AE index of those events, which gives a measure of the ion-neutral coupling efficiency as a function of geomagnetic activity.