The main objective of the Solar-Terrestrial Physics Division is to investigate the effects on the Earths environment of the variable energy, in the form of hard electromagnetic radiation, high-energy particles and ionised solar gas, which is emitted by the sun in addition to the steady energy emitted mainly in the visible and infrared wavelength regions. Of special interest are the effects on the Earths weather and climate associated with the varying solar activity which appears in the form of sunspots, solar flares, coronal eruptions, and other disturbances at the sun. The effects of the varying solar emissions are observed most directly in the upper, ionised part of the Earths atmosphere which, particularly in the polar regions, are electrically and magnetically coupled to the flow of ionised solar gas surrounding the Earth. The aim is to contribute to the understanding of the transfer of the variable solar energy through the interplanetary space to the Earths magnetosphere, ionosphere and atmosphere and to investigate the mechanisms of electrical and magnetic disturbances in the upper atmosphere as well as other possible environmental effects. Furthermore, the division aims to provide a competent national body for public and governmental advisory assistance in the field of Solar-Terrestrial relations. These goals are met through a program of research projects supported by groundbased as well as satellite based geophysical observations. The core of the program is the array of geophysical observations conducted in Greenland uniquely located in a region stretching from the auroral zone to the central polar cap.
International relevancy and high quality of the research activities are ensured in a number of ways: the division is well represented in international scientific organisations and panels; research work is presented frequently at international symposia; and publications are contributed extensively to international journals and scientific books. The international coordination of geophysical observations is handled by the International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) and the Union Radio Scientific International (URSI). These organisations make recommendations on the type, quality, and quantity of the observations of the Earth magnetic field, its variations, and the state and dynamics of the upper atmosphere. The division aims to conduct the observational program in accordance with the internationally recommended guidelines with due consideration to national specific research interests and projects. The division is directly involved in the international collaboration on data exchange through the operation of the World Data Center for Geomagnetism, WDCC1, Copenhagen.
Head of the Solar-Terrestrial Physics Research Division is Torsten Neubert. The tasks are divided into the following areas which reflect the present research projects and observational tasks. An administrative coordinator is appointed for each area.
The best possible return of the observational program is ensured by continually keeping this updated in regard to instrumentation and geographical distribution. The present observational program is a vital asset for the research productivity of the group.
This field of research concerns the processes in the Earth Magnetosphere and Ionosphere resulting from the interaction between the Solar Wind and the Earth magnetic field. The research is based primarily on the observations carried out in Greenland but, in addition, includes other ground-based and satellite observations as needed. These complimentary data are obtained through extensive international collaboration.
The climate of the Earth depends on the varying solar activity as it manifests itself through the appearance of sunspots and other disturbances at the Sun. The connection has been demonstrated through statistical analyses and the main goals for the reserch at DMI in this topic is now to define the precise mechanism for the interaction between activity at the sun and the variability of climatic parameters of the Earth.
A major activity of the division is the ěrsted project, for which DMI has the scientific leadership, nationally as well as internationally. The research objectives of this project are much the same as for the ground-based program described above. However, the combined set of data from ground and space opens up new possibilities to gain knowledge and understanding of the physical processes associated with the interaction between the Solar Wind and the Earth magnetic field. In addition to these research activities, which shall be carried out by the group at DMI, another objective of the ěrsted project is to investigate the processes inside the Earth that produce the Earth magnetic field and the slow variations hereof. This part of the research is conducted primarily by a group at the Niels Bohr Institute, Department of Geophysics, University of Copenhagen and The Institute of Automation at the Danish Technical University as well as the Danish Space Research Institute also participate in the ěrsted project, mostly on the development and production of the instruments.
The scientific data centre plays a central role in the ěrsted project, as it is responsible for the archiving, presentation, and distribution of the data in a form which makes them easy to access and use for the participating research groups.