Collaborative Research: FACTs: Forcing of the upper Atmosphere from Coupling of Troposphere during extreme weather Systems

Project: Research project

Project Details


Understanding the Earth's atmosphere and its ionized portion, the ionosphere, as an integrated, coupled system remains a great challenge. This system is strongly influenced by various space weather drivers such as solar flares, and this control (from above) is comparatively well explored. In contrast, the continuous influence of meteorological drivers (forcing from below) remains largely unexplored. This project focuses on extreme weather systems or EWS such as tropical storms and hurricanes which serve as an important tropospheric source of atmospheric waves especially gravity waves (GW) which are known to propagate upward and couple the troposphere to the middle and upper atmosphere. The project will employ a wide range of instrumental tools at the Arecibo Observatory (AO) in Puerto Rico and its Remote Optical Facility (ROF) in the island of Culebra to monitor the middle and upper atmosphere response to the EWS traveling towards the Caribbean and the US. It will cover a broad range of altitudes between ~60 km and ~ 450 km and will include radio receivers, a meteor radar, lidars, photometers, all-sky imagers (ASIs), Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPIs), and ionosondes. The proposed work will focus on (1) analysis of the response of the D-region ionosphere (60-90 km in altitude) to EWS activity, (2) investigation of EWS effects on the medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances (MSTIDs), a manifestation of GWs in the F-region ionosphere (above 150 km in altitude), and (3) comparative analysis of the neutral and electron densities during MSTIDs with the aim of distinguishing between current competing theories on their origin. The Remote Optical Facility on the island of Culebra will be transformed into an observatory that will provide important scientific observations and impact the advance of Puerto Rico’s STEM education and culture by making world-class research accessible to students and teachers. A weather station will be installed in Culebra to provide hands-on experience to students and teachers from the Culebra’s sole public school, engaging with underrepresented students. Further, two workshops will be organized for the local Culebra public high school to promote scientific engagement and to accommodate ~40 students and 10 teachers, with invited speakers from AO-affiliated scientists as well as local universities. This project will also support a female scientist (Principal Investigator), a postdoctoral scholar, and graduate and undergraduate students. It will support graduate and undergraduate education in atmospheric sciences and engineering, field deployment of several ground-based instruments, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date8/15/227/31/26


  • National Science Foundation: $332,315.00


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