Alex Chartier

PhD Candidate, Invert centre for imaging science, University of Bath

My Interests

My interests are the physics of the Earth's upper atmosphere, especially the ionosphere, data assimilation and forecasting. The fields of tomography, modelling and sustainable software development are key to delivering my research objectives.

My research

My research goal is to produce ionospheric forecasts to mitigate effects on human activities, such as satellite positioning, transpolar aviation and power systems. I am a student at the University of Bath, sponsored by the Met Office and registered with the Systems Centre. My work is funded by the EPSRC.

In my research to date, I have adapted the University of Bath's ionospheric imaging software to accept a new observation type. This greatly improves the vertical resolution of the ionospheric images produced, allowing scientists to study the physical processes in the equatorial ionosphere. I have also adapted the imaging software to include a model state estimate when solving for the 'best guess' of current conditions. This is a necessary step in the production of forecasts.

I have recently begun a collaboration with scientists from the USA, from the Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). These organisations share the objectives of the Met Office: to produce forecasts of the upper atmosphere. My collaborators have a generic data assimilation scheme, which produces 'best guesses' of model states with any atmospheric model and observations. Their work in the upper atmosphere is at an early stage, but they have high performance computing facilities and code that will allow me to take my work to the next level. To date, we have incorporated observations from the University of Bath's imaging software into the US assimilation scheme and run experiments with simulated observations at the location of the real observations. Future work will run the scheme with real observations. A simulation study will determine which model fields are most important to the progression of the ionosphere into the future.

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