African Meridian B-Field Education and Research

Lead Scientist: Dr Mark Moldwin and Dr. Endawoke Yizengaw,

Organization: University of California Los Angelis (UCLA), US

Objectives of AMBER

  • To monitor the electrodynamics that governs the motion of plasma in the low/mid-latitude as function of LT, season, and magnetic activity.
  • To understand ULF pulsation strength into low/mid-latitudes and its connection with EEJ and EA.
  • To support studies about the effects of Pc5 ULF waves on the MeVelectron population in the inner parts of the Van Allen belts

The AMBER array contains four magnetometers and spans across the geomagnetic equator from L of 1 to an L of 1.4.

Name of stations Code Geo.Lat Geo.Long Mag.Lat Mag.Long L-shell
Algiers, Algeria ALA 36.85°N 2.93°E 27.98°N 77.67°E 1.3
Adigrat, Ethiopia ADI 14.28°N 39.46°E 5.80°N 111.06°E 1.0
Windhoek, Namibia WIN 22.56°S 17.09°E 33.15°S 84.65°E 1.4
Yaounde, Cameroon YAC 3.87°N 11.52°E 5.30°S 83.12°E 1.0

In addition to filling the largest land-based gap in global magnetometer coverage, the AMBER array will address two fundamental areas of space physics: (1) the processes governing electrodynamics of the equatorial ionosphere as a function of latitude (or L-shell), local time, longitude, magnetic activity, and season, and (2) ULF pulsation strength and its connection with equatorial electrojet strength at low/mid-latitude regions.

Satellite observations show unique equatorial ionospheric structures in the African sector, though these have not been confirmed by observation from the ground due to lack of ground-based instruments in the region. In order to have a complete global understanding of equatorial ionosphere motions, deployment of ground-based magnetometers in Africa is essential. One focus of IHY is the deployment of networks of small instruments, including the development of research infrastructure in developing nations through the United Nations Basic Space Science (UNBSS) Small Instrument Array. Therefore, AMBER magnetometer array in partnership with parallel US funded GPS receivers in Africa will allow us to understand the electrodynamics that governs equatorial ionosphere motions. While AMBER routinely observes the F region plasma drift mechanism (ExB drift), the GPS stations will monitor the structure of plasma at low/mid-latitudes in the African sectors. In addition to new scientific discoveries and advancing the space science research into Africa by establishing scientific collaborations between scientists in the developing and developed nations, the AMBER project also contributes to developing the basic science of heliophysics through cross-disciplinary studies of universal process. This includes the creation of sustainable research/training infrastructure within the developing nations (Africa).

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