At the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), solar-terrestrial relationships are studied with the focus on the ionosphere and their relation to phenomena and effects of space weather. Modern communication and navigation systems as well as high-resolution radar techniques of remote sensing work with radio waves whose propagation is significantly influenced by the electrically conductive part of the Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere. In view of constantly increasing demands on accuracy, availability and reliability of the radio signals used, it is necessary to have the most comprehensive knowledge possible of the propagation properties of the ionosphere. For this purpose and to understand the basic solar-terrestrial relationships, comprehensive observations of the state of the ionosphere and various space weather factors including solar wind as well as significant coupling processes with the magnetosphere, thermosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere are required.
With the modernization of GNSS, the use of multi-constellation, multi-frequency observations including new signals enables continuous monitoring of the Earth’s ionosphere using worldwide distributed sensor stations. The permanently growing number of GNSS receivers and associated networks essentially supports establishing high precision monitoring of ionospheric weather including perturbation tracking and forecasts usable in space weather services. Other ground based techniques such as vertical sounding (VS), Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR), Very Low Frequency (VLF) or Radio Beacon (RB) measurements provide complementary data thus completing GNSS based data sets.
Such multi-sensor observations of ionospheric variables allow the reconstruction of the three-dimensional electron density distribution in regional and global scales, which is necessary for the assessment of radio wave propagation. For this purpose, data from different measurement techniques with different spatial and temporal scales have to be harmonized and merged to obtain a consistent specification of ionospheric electron density. The task includes data fusion as well as empirical modelling and prediction.
On the one hand ionospheric reconstructions from the direct and multi-sensor observations are valuable for independent scientific publications. On the other hand, they provide a valuable data basis for further theoretical studies on the behaviour of the ionosphere and its prediction as well as for a reliable operational space weather service via DLR’s Ionospheric Monitoring and Prediction Center (IMPC).
The Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics is therefore looking for staff to work on the following topics:
The staff of the institute has many years of experience in monitoring the ionosphere, in particular by means of satellite-based and ground-based GNSS techniques and empirical modelling of the ionosphere.