Localized structures in the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere-Thermosphere (M-I-T) system in space have major impacts on radio communications and satellite operations. Although the existence of such structures has been known, efforts for understanding their quantitative properties and formation processes are severely limited. It is a challenging issue because coupling processes across scales (multi-scale) have to be handled. We propose to quantify the role of multi-scale processes in the M-I-T system and to advance community’s understanding of how multi-scale structures form and evolve. We will determine occurrence conditions and properties of key quantities over multi-scales (energetic particles, flows, currents, plasma density, and neutral density, wind and temperature) by taking advantage of the growing network of high-resolution observations. Multi-scale numerical simulations will take the observed properties and examine reproducibility and physical mechanisms of formation of meso/small-scale structures. This investigation is timely because of the growing availability of high-resolution observation in space and on the ground, and growing capability of high-resolution numerical simulations. 


Image credit

NASA/CSA/University of California, Berkeley/University of Calgary/NSF