Wednesday, June 20, 2007

GEM Workshop, Wednesday plenary session

This morning we got the agency reports via NSF program head Kile Baker. He reported two personnel changes in the Upper Atmosphere branch: Cassandra Fesen is the new Aeronomy director (replacing Bob Kerr, who is the new director at Arecibo), and Vladimir Papitashvili will return to NSF in August as a staff member heading the Antarctic program, which has been without a director for almost a year. The budget news is better than in the recent past: a 6% budget increase in FY2007 compared with 2006, with an increase of at least 4% expected for 2008. The GEM program success rate increased to 24% (6 of 25 proposals) from last year's 18% (4 of 23 proposals). The Space Weather competition news is not so good, with a success rate of around 10% expected. There are a couple of new initiatives under discussion: an interest in funding small satellites for space weather observations (i.e., nanosats and picosats) possibly starting as early as FY08, and a new initiative for computer-enabled discovery and innovation, with funding relevant to space physics available starting in 2009.

Kile relayed the following reports from other agencies: The AFOSR Young Investigator program has been expanded to include soft money scientists, with proposals due 24 July. Thomas Zurbuchen (Michigan) has proposed a collegiate space weather competition along the lines of the existing tropospheric weather competition; the first run would probably be March or April of 2009. NASA wants to speed up Explorer missions: A draft AO is (or will soon be) released, with a final AO targeted in October and three missions to be launched in 2012-2014. The Living With a Star Targeted Research and Technology deadlines may be postponed depending on when the Focused Science Topics are finalized. Magnetospheric Multiscale will likely be descoped and/or rephased to match available budget.

The tutorial speaker was Nick Omidi of Solana Scientific on "Use of hybrid and MHD models in addressing TADMAC's [the focus group on Transport at Dayside Magnetopause and Cusp] objectives". He showed that waves generated at the bow shock impinge on the magnetopause and can affect the reconnection sites if the IMF is northward. Apparently symmetric bow shocks are not. Foreshock waves can induce significant perturbations in the solar wind. Foreshock cavities (correlated dips in density and magnetic field) occur on various scales from ion gyroradius to 1 earth radius or more. A solitary shock can form when a rotational discontinuity hits the bow shock. Flux transfer events impinge on the cusps (this portion of the tutorial was shown in the breakout session yesterday). An MHD model of 3-D magnetopause reconnection shows that regions of both antiparallel and component reconnection occur.

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