This U.S.- South America award will support a workshop to promote international scientific collaborations between researchers from South America and the United States in the Low Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network (LISN) community. The workshop will be held in November 2011 at the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil. The LISN community has installed over 40 GPS receivers and 5 magnetometers across the South American continent during the last few years. The success of the continuous operations of this network depends on the collaborations of the South American partners. The primary goal of the workshop is to motivate new members to learn about the LISN instrumentation and to engage them in scientific projects and campaigns. Research topics addressed at the workshop will include: (1) new instrumentation, their observable quantities, and analysis techniques; (2) physics of the day-to-day variability of the low-latitude ionosphere and a method for predicting equatorial spread F (ESF) initiation; and (3) space weather applications and the role of LISN on the development of an augmentation system in South America. The workshop will be organized by Dr. Cesar Valladares from Boston College with Drs. Eurico de Paula and Hisao Takahashi from INPE in Brazil, Dr. Jorge Chau from Jicarmarca Observatory in Peru, and Dr. Caludio Brunini from the University of La Plata in Argentina.

The workshop will bring together leading researchers from the United States, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Columbia, Ecuador and Bolivia and provide unique opportunities for this community to initiate long-term collaborations. For the US, this project will create opportunities for students and early career scientists to participate in different phases of the instrument installation, development of data analysis software, and the usage of the resources offered by the new instruments that are operating in South America. Furthermore, it will provide an international research experience to U.S and South American graduate students and early-career researchers. This workshop is supported by the Americas Program in the Office of International Science and the Aeronomy Program in the Directorate of Geosciences at NSF, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) in Brazil.

Project Report

Space Weather is the field of Physics that deals with the variability in the Sun, in the upper layers of the atmosphere and in any region between them that can endanger human life and/or the performance of any instrument on the ground or in space. Recently, it has become evident that space weather plays an important role in the use of GPS receivers to aid airplanes in route and to their final approach to airports. The main reason is that the ionosphere (the ionized part of the atmosphere) affects the position that is given by the GPS receivers. The USA FAA has developed a system to augment the capability of GPS receivers and to indicate when errors due to the variability of the ionosphere or space weather are beyond some reasonable limits. Air civil navigation in several countries in South America have initiated the development of similar systems, and a new generation of space scientists is needed to help their local civil navigation. It was the purpose of this workshop to educate local scientists on the issues that are of importance for civil navigation and to engage them in collaborative work. During the workshop several tutorials were conducted to report important advances in space weather. Key discussions on how to mitigate space weather effects were presented and novel ideas were proposed. It was concluded that the low-latitude ionospheric sensor network (LISN) in South America can be used to understand the physics of several space weather effects.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)
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Anne-Marie Schmoltner
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Boston College
Chestnut Hill
United States
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