Upcoming Events

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2008 GEM Summer Workshop


GEM will be holding its annual summer workshop June 22-27, 2008 jointly with SHINE at the Zermatt Resort and Spa in Midway, Utah. Details of the GEM Workshop can be found at the GEM 2008 Summer Workshop web site.

The following sessions are calling for presentations:

Plasmasphere-Magnetosphere Interactions (New Focus Group)

Conveners: Jerry Goldstein <jgoldstein@swri.edu> and Joe Borovsky <jborovsky@lanl.gov>

The 2008 GEM workshop will feature three sessions for the new Focus Group "Plasmasphere-Magnetosphere Interactions" (PMI). This focus group seeks to improve our understanding of the two-way coupling between the plasmasphere and magnetosphere. The Focus Group proposal is available at

http://enarc.space.swri.edu/PAPERS/FTP/GEM/PMI-FG-Proposal_v2.doc or http://tinyurl.com/6d56vj

The three (3) PMI sessions to be held at the upcoming 2008 GEM:

Tue, 24 June, 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. PMI 1 (morning): "Waves in the Plasmasphere-Magnetosphere System"

This session will examine the conditions for growth and propagation of various waves including EMIC, whistlers (hiss, chorus), ULF, and their importance to energetic particle dynamics. Emphasis will be placed upon the origin and influence of ambient plasma properties (such as density, composition, and spatial structure on various scale sizes).

Tue, 24 June, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. PMI 2 (afternoon): "Dynamics and Recirculation of Plasmaspheric Plumes"

This session will examine the formation, dynamics, and fate of plasmaspheric plume plasma. Specific topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to): observation or modeling of cold, dense plasma mixed with magnetospheric plasma, plume plasma at reconnection sites or on open field lines, recirculation or redistribution of cold, dense plasma into the cusp and plasmasheet.

Wed, 25 June, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. PMI Planning: "Focus Group Planning Session (Open Discussion)"

In this session, we invite the GEM community to participate in an open forum to plan the PMI Focus Group. A strawman schedule will be presented for free-form discussion, but any interested parties are welcome to make brief (5-minute) presentations (including science) if they are relevant to planning this focus group.

Anyone interested in participating or contributing is encouraged to email Jerry Goldstein (jgoldstein@swri.edu) or Joe Borovsky (jborovsky@lanl.gov).

Substorm Expansion Onset: The First 10 Minutes (New Focus Group)

Conveners: Vassilis Angelopoulos <vassilis@ucla.edu>, Shin Ohtani <Shin.Ohtani@jhuapl.edu> and Kazuo Shiokawa <shiokawa@stelab.nagoya-u.ac.jp> (conveners)

We are pleased to announce the start of a new focus group, "Expansion Onset: The First 10 Minutes", at the upcoming GEM workshop in Zermatt Utah. This focus group is concerned with magnetospheric and ionospheric processes around the time of substorm onset, and expects to address key physics questions regarding those processes, using ground imagery, magnetometry and in situ observations from the THEMIS, Geotail, FAST, Cluster and other satellite missions, as well as theory and modeling of processes before/during the expansion phase onset. The tentative plan is available at: http://www.spaceplasma.unh.edu/~jraeder/GEM/uploads/Main/GEM-FGProposal-2007-exp-onset-v2.pdf

This year we will focus on the following three topical areas:

  1. Timing: What is the time sequence of phenomena observed in space and on the ground, and what are the implications for substorm onset processes?
  1. Pre-breakup/onset aurora: What is the electrodynamics of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling before and at the time of substorm auroral breakup? What is the source of growth phase currents?
  1. Mapping: How does the presence and evolution of pre-onset and expansion phase onset current systems in the tail and along the field lines affect the link between auroral and plasma sheet locations and processes?

In order to communicate our ideas better we will need tangible examples. Several nice events identified from the last THEMIS tail season can serve that purpose quite well. If there are suggestions for any events from the community please relay them to the conveners. A consolidated list of events will be announced in the near future. There will be 3 GEM meeting break-out sessions regarding this focus group, on Wed. June 25, at 10:30-12:15, 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5pm. The discussion will start with a speaker presenting the questions at hand and is expected to be followed by event expositions but also theory/modeling related discussions. Anyone interested in participating in the discussion is encouraged to email Vassilis Angelopoulos (vassilis@ucla.edu), Kazuo Shiokawa (shiokawa@stelab.nagoya-u.ac.jp), and Shin Ohtani(Ohtani@jhuapl.edu).

Modes of Solar Wind-Magnetosphere Energy Transfer (New Focus Group)

Conveners: Larry Kepko <larry.kepko@unh.edu> and Bob McPherron <rmcpherron@igpp.ucla.edu>

The 2008 GEM workshop will herald a new Tail Focus Group, "Modes of solar wind-magnetosphere energy transfer." This focus group seeks to improve our knowledge of the physical mechanisms that provide for different dynamical modes of response of the magnetotail to the solar wind. The Focus Group proposal is available at


At the upcoming workshop we will discuss:

  • Steady magnetospheric convection
  • Sawtooth events
  • Poleward Boundary Intensifications
  • Pseudo breakups

The discussion of each topic will start with a short invited talk designed to lay the groundwork for discussion. Each invited speaker will describe:

  • The particular state of solar wind conditions associated with the response mode
  • The internal state of the magnetosphere during the response mode
  • What causes the transition into or out of a mode

Anyone interested in participating in the discussion are encouraged to email Larry Kepko (larry.kepko@unh.edu) or Bob McPherron (rmcpherron@igpp.ucla.edu).

GGCM Modules and Methods

From: John Dorelli <john.dorelli@unh.edu>

There will be two breakout sessions, both scheduled for Wednesday, at the 2008 GEM workshop:

Wed, June 25, 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. "Solar wind-magnetosphere coupling: Theory and simulations"

This session will focus on three questions:

  1. Can we develop accurate physics based solar wind-magnetosphere coupling functions (perhaps using global MHD simulations for guidance)?
  1. How does reconnection depend on local plasma parameters (e.g., local magnetic field, density, resistivity) in global MHD simulations?
  1. What is the role of the Hall effect (and other kinetic scale physics) in magnetospheric reconnection?

Wed, June 25, 1:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. "How does the physics of magnetic reconnection scale up to reality?"

This session will focus on the question of whether the physics of magnetic reconnection observed in kinetic scale simulations is relevant on a larger scale (hundreds of ion inertial lengths). In particular, we would like to discuss the recent open boundary condition PIC simulation results, which seem to be at odds with the "standard model" of Hall-MHD reconnection.

We are going for an informal group discussion, but short presentations on the topics listed above are welcome. Please email John Dorelli (john.dorelli@unh.edu) or Mike Shay (shay@udel.edu) if you would like to participate.

Bow Shock Phenomena and their Magnetospheric Impacts

Conveners: N. Omidi <omidi@solanasci.com>, H. Kucharek <harald.kucharek@unh.edu>, and J. Eastwood <eastwood@ssl.berkeley.edu>

During the 2008 Summer GEM workshop in Zermatt Utah, one or more sessions on the bow shock and its magnetospheric impacts will be held. The main objective of the session is to utilize observations, modeling, and theory of the bow shock and related processes in the foreshock and the magnetosheath to assess the current status of the field and forge collaborative efforts towards addressing outstanding issues in the future. Based on the discussions during the mini-workshop held before the 2007 Fall AGU, we plan to focus on the following topics:

  1. Morphology of the ion foreshock as a function of IMF orientation
  2. Upstream waves and their role in preconditioning of the solar wind
  3. Upstream structures such a foreshock cavities and density holes
  4. Interaction of solar wind discontinuities (and CME/CIR) with the bow shock and the resulting phenomena such as hot flow anomalies (HFAs) or magnetic reconnection in the sheath
  5. Shock structure, dissipation processes and implications for waves in the magnetosheath
  6. Magnetosheath turbulence and impacts on the magnetopause

Those interested in these topics are invited to attend and contribute through showing a few slides and/or participation in the discussions. Information regarding hotel reservations and travel arrangements are posted on the GEM website (http://www.cpe.vt.edu/gem/). Those wishing to give a presentation or with questions regarding the workshop should contact the conveners omidi@solanasci.com, harald.kucharek@unh.edu, eastwood@ssl.berkeley.edu .

Dayside Magnetopause Reconnection

Conveners: Jean Berchem <jberchem@igpp.ucla.edu> and Nick Omidi <omidi@adelphia.net>

The GEM focus group on "Dayside Magnetopause Reconnection" will meet on Monday, June 23 (1:30 PM to 3:00 PM - Interlaken) during the GEM annual summer workshop at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah (http://www.cpe.vt.edu/gem/ )

The goal of the "Dayside Magnetopause Reconnection" working group is to enhance our understanding of the properties and consequences of magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause. During our last meeting in San Francisco, we identified the following topics to be discussed:

  1. Large-scale properties of reconnection at the magnetopause (e.g., merging patterns)
  1. The physics of magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause (e.g., effects of density asymmetries)
  1. Quasi-steady and time dependent reconnection (e.g., FTEs)
  1. Plasma transport (e.g., particle entry and energization at the dayside magnetospheric boundary)
  1. Impacts of transients on the dayside magnetopause (e.g., RD and TD interactions)

Observational and theoretical contributions to this session are hereby solicited.

Please e-mail a title of your contribution to Jean Berchem <jberchem@igpp.ucla.edu> or Nick Omidi <omidi@adelphia.net>.

Physical Processes in the Cusps: Plasma Transport and Energization

Conveners: K.J. Trattner <karlheinz.j.trattner.dr@lmco.com>, N. Omidi and D. Sibeck

During the 2008 Summer GEM workshop in Zermatt Utah, a number of sessions on the physical processes in the cusp will be held. The main objective of these sessions is to utilize observations, modeling, and theory of the cusp and its role in particle acceleration and plasma transport to assess the current status of the field and forge collaborative efforts towards addressing outstanding issues in the future. Based on the topics in earlier years and the discussions during the mini-workshop held during the 2007 Fall AGU, we plan to focus on the following topics:

  1. Plasma transport into the cusp.
  2. Energization of ions in diamagnetic cavities.
  3. Origin of waves observed in the cusp and their role in particle scattering and acceleration.
  4. Interaction of FTE's with the cusp.
  5. The source region of energetic ions and electrons observed in the cusp.
  6. Ionospheric signatures of such processes such as Poleward Moving Auroral Forms

It is the ultimate goal of the workshop to enhance our understanding of the cusp physics, its coupling to other parts of the system such as the bow shock, magnetopause and the ionosphere and the important role it plays in dayside transport and energization. Observational and theoretical contributions to this session are hereby solicited.

Those interested in these topics are invited to attend and contribute through showing a few slides and/or participation in the discussions. Information regarding hotel reservations and travel arrangements will be posted on the GEM website (http://www.cpe.vt.edu/gem) in the near future. Those wishing to give a presentation or with questions regarding the workshop should contact the conveners trattner@mail.spasci.com, omidi@solanasci.com or david.g.sibeck@nasa.gov.

Diffuse Auroral Precipitation

From: Richard Thorne <rmt@atmos.ucla.edu>

There will be four separate breakout sessions devoted to the Diffuse Auroral Precipitation Focus Group at the 2008 GEM workshop.

Thu, 26 June, 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. DAP 1: "Electron Pitch-Angle Scattering: Wave Observations and Theory"

Co-chaired by Richard Thorne (rmt@atmos.ucla.edu) and Nigel Meredith (nmer@bas.ac.uk).

This session will examine the global morphology and variability of two classes of magnetospheric plasma waves, electrostatic electron cyclotron harmonic (ECH) and electromagnetic whistler mode chorus plasma waves, which are capable of interacting with plasma sheet electrons, leading to precipitation into the atmosphere. Theoretical calculations of pitch-angle scattering rates from each class of wave, under different levels of geomagnetic activity, will also be presented to assess their potential contribution to the global pattern of diffuse auroral precipitation.

Presentations will me made by Nigel Meredith (CRRES wave distributions), Binbin Ni (Chorus scattering) and Richard Thorne (ECH scattering). Others are solicited.

Thu, 26 June, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. DAP 2: "The Origin of Diffuse Auroral Structure"

Co-chaired by Eric Donovan (edonovan@ucalgary.ca) and Mike Henderson (mghenderson@lanl.gov).

In this session, we will explore the origin of structure in the diffuse aurora, with a particular focus on advancing our understanding of the following:

  1. The modulation of diffuse aurora by pressure pulses, ULF pulsations and transients, and rapid and slow variations in convection (e.g., pulsating aurora, streamers, optical Pi2s, etc).
  2. The variation in diffuse auroral boundaries due to changes in magnetospheric topology, convection, and large- and small-scale waves and instabilities (e.g., giant undulations, Omega bands, growth phase variation of the trapping boundaries, patchy aurora, etc.).
  3. The spatial distribution of regions of strong and weak pitch angle diffusion (e.g., what do diffuse auroral boundaries correspond to in the magnetosphere)

This session will contain presentations by Tom Sotirelis (Boundaries), Mike Henderson (Giant Undulations), Marc Lessard (patchy/pulsating aurora), Dave Knudsen (small scale structure), and Eric Donovan (ULF modulation of diffuse aurora). Others are solicited.

Thu, 26 June, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. DAP 3 (Joint with FG on Near Earth Magnetosphere): "Plasma Sheet Ion Scattering"

Co-chaired by Shawn Young (Shawn.Young@kirtland.af.mil) and Mark Lessard (marc.lessard@unh.edu)

The Diffuse Auroral Precipitation and Near Earth Magnetosphere focus groups are holding a combined session on "Plasma sheet ion scattering." The plasma sheet and magnetic field structure are tightly coupled. The plasma pressure stretches the field lines, which leads to current sheet scattering of ions into the atmosphere where they excite the diffuse ion aurora. The equator-ward edge of the diffuse aurora can provide valuable information on the magnetic structure in the magneto-tail. Ion precipitation can also be associated with features of the ring current. The plasma sheet ion scattering session will focus on theory, modeling and observations of the plasma sheet, magneto-tail structure and the diffuse ion aurora.

Fri, 27 June, 10:30 - 12:15 p.m. DAP 4: "Planning session for 2008-2009 activities"

Co-chaired by Jacob Bortnik (jbortnik@gmail.com) and Tom Sotirelis (tom.sotirelis@jhuapl.edu).

In this session Jacob Bortnik and Tom Sotirelis will discuss available data sources on waves and precipitating particles. We will also outline plans and objectives for the next year of the campaign.

Anyone interested in contributing to any of these sessions is encouraged to contact the relevant session chairs.

Perpendicular Ion Heating: Observations on Earth and Theory at the Sun (Joint GEM/SHINE Session)

From: Bob Lysak <bob@fields.space.umn.edu>

Ion heating transverse to the magnetic field and the associated ion outflow are common processes in the polar and auroral regions of the Earth and the corona of the Sun. The intent of this joint session is to bring together researchers in these areas and explore the similarities and differences between the two regions. On Earth, these heating and outflow processes can be studied with in situ satellite and rocket data, as well as with energetic neutral atom imaging, while in the corona, remote observations from instruments such as the Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer on SOHO can be used to diagnose the properties of these ions. Theory and modeling efforts have been carried out in both regions. Despite the official title of the session, we solicit short contributions on observations, theory and modeling from either of these regions. The session will be held on Friday, June 27, from 10:30 am-12:15 pm. Please contact Ben Chandran (benjamin.chandran@unh.edu) or Bob Lysak (bob@aurora.space.umn.edu) if you are interested in making a short, informal presentation.

Multiple-Dip Geomagnetic Storms: Solar-Wind Drivers or Internal Magnetospheric Processes (Joint GEM/SHINE Session)

Conveners: Vania K. Jordanova <vania@lanl.gov> and Ian Richardson <ian.g.richardson@nasa.gov>

We invite you to participate in the joint GEM-SHINE session on multiple-dip geomagnetic storms that will be held during the 2008 Summer Workshop in Zermatt, Utah, on Monday afternoon 1:30-5:00 pm. The main objective of this session is to use observations, theory, and modeling to assess the current status and establish collaborative efforts towards understanding the physical processes of geomagnetic storms. In particular, we will focus on the role of external drivers and internal mechanisms in particle transport, acceleration, and loss during multiple-dip storms. The primary topics for discussion are:

  1. Solar sources of multiple-dip storms
  2. Interplanetary drivers of multiple-dip storms
  3. Role of the ionospheric source populations
  4. Effects of preconditioning of the plasma sheet
  5. Particle injection into the ring current, dayside outflows
  6. Effects of ion composition in multiple-dip storms
  7. Radiation belt dynamics, contribution of electrons
  8. Plasmasphere response, role of drainage plumes
  9. Coupling between these regions and feedback to the global system
  10. Methods of forecasting multiple-dip storms

We invite those interested in giving a short presentation, or with suggestions for other discussion topics, to contact the conveners Vania Jordanova (vania@lanl.gov) or Ian Richardson (ian.g.richardson@nasa.gov).