2011 SuperDARN Workshop
Active Magnetosphere Polar Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE): Status and Highlights
B.J. Anderson (1), H. Korth (1), L.P. Dyrud (1), R.J. Barnes (1), C.L. Waters (2)
(1) The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA
(2) School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Whales, Australia
abstract. The Active Magnetosphere Polar Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE) is a facility to provide global measurement of the field-aligned Birkeland electric currents that link the Earth?s magnetosphere and ionosphere. This is accomplished using the existing >70 low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites of the Iridium Communications Inc. satellite constellation. The avionics of each satellite includes a vector magnetometer which is sensitive enough to detect the Birkeland currents. New flight software and ground data systems were developed to send 10 to 100 times more magnetometer data to the ground than previously possible. The higher magnetic field samples yield continuous, near real-time measurement of the global Birkeland currents with a re-visit interval of just nine minutes corresponding to the inter-satellite spacing within a given orbit plane. Continuous AMPERE data have been acquired since June 2010 and test data were acquired starting in October 2009. Inversions of magnetic perturbations and field aligned currents from these data are derived as standard data products supported by various display tools. The status of subsequent data releases, high-rate AMPERE operation plans, real-time development, as well as science highlights are discussed. Combinations of AMPERE field aligned currents with simple models of ionospheric conductance and comparisons with SuperDARN bi-static flow results are used to illustrate the application of AMPERE as a powerful constraint on ionospheric electrodynamics.