International Space Weather Meridian Circle Program (IMCP)

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014 PDF Print E-mail

Taking “the 11th Five-Year Plan” major national scientific and technological infrastructure project –Eastern Hemisphere Meridian Space Weather Monitoring Project (Meridian Project for short) as the platform, International Space Weather Meridian Circle Program-IMCP aims at realizing and coordinating simultaneous determination and cooperative research of global space weather, promoting the development of international space research, facilitating China to utilize outer space peacefully, and elevating our scientific and technological innovative capacity and contributions to human scientific development materially through international cooperation. It, first created by Chinese scientists, is a major multilateral international scientific and technological cooperation program by taking China as the host.

1. Program background 

The monitoring and research of space environment is entering into a new period in which researching disastrous space weather is the main scientific objective to establish global causal chain mode of space weather, formulate regional environmental specifications and develop space weather forecast, so as to solve the problem of space disasters that human survival and development face, and develop the Space Weather.

The distribution of magnetic field lines in space environment close to earth meridian, and zenith-angle effect of electromagnetic radiation of the sun along the meridian and earth rotation as well as orbital effect around the sun, all make space environment of the earth possess global three-dimensional structure along with the changes of time and region. How is global three-dimensional structure of space environment of the earth along with the changes of time and space obtained? How is global change relationship of space environment researched? How global joint forecast related to space disastrous weather developed? All these are urgent problems scientific community of space needs to answer.

At the beginning of fermenting the idea of Meridian Project, Chinese scientists adopt open thinking, and creatively put forward to make Meridian Project as foundation and core; under the premises that Chinese core interests are not damaged and national security is not harmed, the meridian project can extend to Russia northward and pass through the Southeast Asia and Australia, etc. southward to join our Zhongshan Station at the South Pole through international cooperation. It, closing with some local meridian chains of relevant countries and regions near 60° of the Western Hemisphere, forms the first space environment monitoring meridian circle around the earth, and we take the initiative to implement “International Space Weather Meridian Circle Program” (International Meridian Circle Program for short). Through International Meridian Circle Program, China can make full use of and unite the resources both at home and abroad, to realize simultaneous observation for global latitudes at all time in 24 hours, which greatly promotes the capability for space cognition of meridian project.


Figure 1 Schematic diagram of International Space Weather Meridian Circle Program 


2. Overall objective 

The overall objective for establishing international space weather meridian circle is to conduct global joint forecast related to space disastrous weather, and realize global joint monitoring organization and system for solar-terrestrial space environment such as earth magnetic field, upper atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere, cosmic ray, etc. along 120°E+60°W meridian.

Therefore, aim to establish terrestrial magnetism (electricity) monitoring circle, upper atmosphere monitoring circle, ionosphere monitoring circle, cosmic ray monitoring circle and polar lights monitoring network in polar regions, etc. along 120°E+60°W meridian and data and service center as well as scientific operation center in International Meridian Circle Program, and organize global simultaneous determination program, so as to form international space weather meridian circle along 120°E+60°W meridian.

3. Scientific problems to be solved

 International Meridian Circle Program is to research global space disastrous weather and provide the service of global space weather environment forecast. To understand and clarify the change rules of disastrous weather, the following scientific problems need to be solved:

(1) Overall behavior and energy transfer process of solar-terrestrial space system. Research on the form and change characteristics of solar surface, solar wind and terrestrial space as a whole is conducted, which is mainly the responses of solar energy radiation and terrestrial space, and energy transfer process in overall behavior of solar-terrestrial space is especially emphasized.

(2) Storm characteristic in solar-terrestrial space system. Disastrous disturbance process in solar-terrestrial space is researched, which mainly monitors solar burst at sun side and at the back side of sun simultaneously and the generation and evolution features of space phenomenon related to interplanetary disturbance and terrestrial space storms (magnetic storm, magnetospheric substorm, ionospheric storm, etc.) caused by solar burst, to improve the capability of space disastrous weather forecast.

(3) Interaction and intercoupling at all layers of solar-terrestrial system. Primary research involves various complex physical processes on all interfaces of space environment such as the effect of solar wind to magnetosphere, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, ionosphere-thermosphere- upper atmosphere coupling as well as magnetosphere-atmosphere coupling, etc.

(4) Characteristics and modeling of space environment climatology. Primary research involves average characteristic and secular variation of space environment and its characteristic parameters, and the methods of mathematical physics and mathematical statistics, etc. are adopted to establish basic mode for describing the distribution and change of space environment, which is used for space physics research and space environment forecast.

(5) Basic plasma physics process in space physics. It includes the basic physics process of the acceleration, radiation, volatility, instability and nonlinearity as well as important phenomenon of solar-terrestrial space such as relevant magnetic reconnection, etc.



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