2012 Summer Workshop

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GEM held its annual summer workshop June 17-22, 2012 at the Snowmass Conference Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Logistical information and workshop agenda can be found at the GEM Workshop Website.

Below are the calls for presentations by active GEM focus groups. Please note that in all e-mail addresses below the symbol @ is replaced by " [at] ". Information about the GEM Student Workshop on June 17, 2012 can be found at GEM Student Forum.

Poster submissions should be made online by Wednesday, June 6 at the GEM Workshop Website.


Near Earth Magnetosphere: Plasma, fields and coupling

Conveners: Sorin Zaharia <szaharia [at] lanl.gov>, Stan Sazykin <sazykin [at] rice.edu>, and Benoit Lavraud <Benoit.Lavraud [at] cesr.fr>

The Near Earth Magnetosphere: Plasma, Fields and Coupling Focus Group will hold 2 sessions at the upcoming GEM Summer Workshop in Snowmass (June 17-22, 2012), on Monday 06/18 from 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM, respectively. We invite potential contributors to participate with short presentations on topics relevant to the focus group, including theoretical, modeling and observational studies of the near-Earth magnetosphere plasma, electric and magnetic fields, as well as their interaction.

Potential contributors are encouraged to contact Sorin Zaharia or Stan Sazykin with the title of their presentation. In this last year of activity of the focus group we will devote time for discussion of reporting the focus group efforts, as well as avenues for documenting the various inner magnetospheric modules with their current status of development.

GGCM-Metrics and Validation

Conveners: Tim Guild <timothy.guild [at] aero.org>, Howard Singer <howard.singer [at] noaa.gov>, and Lutz Rastaetter <lutz.rastaetter-1 [at] nasa.gov>, Masha Kuznetsova <Maria.M.Kuznetsova [at] nasa.gov>, and Aaron Ridley <ridley [at] umich.edu>

Announcement #1

The goal of the GGCM Metrics and Validation focus group is to provide a systematic and quantitative evaluation of different GGCM modeling approaches. To date, the majority of model validation exercises have been focused on comparing model output to short time-series of observations, such as geosynchronous magnetic field observations or Dst during a storm. This session solicits ideas and presentations devoted to non-standard methods of model validation, especially over "climatological" intervals (weeks to years). Climatological validation of a model is complementary to validating the dynamics during a storm, ensuring that the model performs well "on average". Magnetospheric simulations have recently been extended long enough to begin attempting these alternative validation methods, and the GEM community would benefit from alternative tools to comprehensively test the performance of GGCM models and understand their shortcomings.

We therefore solicit ideas and short presentations (5 minutes maximum) of novel GGCM validation techniques, especially using climatological intervals on Wednesday, June 20th, between 1:30 and 3PM in the Carroll Room. We welcome ideas that stimulate participant discussion. While in the spirit of GEM we welcome people to just show up with a viewgraph or two, for organizational purposes it will help if you please email the session conveners your name and a brief title.

Announcement #2

The GGCM Metrics and Validation focus group will have two sessions on Wednesday June 20 at this year's GEM Summer Workshop at Snowmass:

10:30 am - 12:15 pm: "GGCM Modeling Challenge" (M. Kuznetsova, A. Ridley)

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: "Measuring Models Climatologically" (T. Guild, L. Rastaetter, H. Singer) - session description in May 31 GEM Messenger.

Tentative agenda and topics for discussions for the "GGCM Modeling Challenge" session:

1. Operational geospace model validation I: Evaluating geospace models ability to forecast time-derivative of ground magnetic perturbations dB/dt. Details of the project and dB/dt time series derived from model outputs can be found at http://ccmc.gsfc.nasa.gov/challenges/dBdt/index.php (50 min)

a. dB/dt calculation from model outputs, visualization and analysis tools/L. Rastaetter

b. dB/dt metrics results/ A. Pulkkinen

c. Discussion: Report/paper preparation. Next steps.

2. Operational geospace model validation II: Geomagnetic activity index (35 min)

a. NOAA SWPC needs for regional geomagnetic activity index prediction/H. Singer

b. Discussions: How to derive geomagnetic activity index from model outputs. Metrics format selection

3. Future planning (20 min)

a. GGCM Metrics Challenges status.

b. M&V Focus Group leadership transition. Mid-term report preparation.

c. GEM-CEDAR Challenge: Ionosphere Joule heating and Auroral oval boundaries session at the pre-AGU mini-workshop.

d. Action plan

Scientific Magnetic Mapping and Techniques

Conveners: Elizabeth MacDonald <macdonald [at] lanl.gov>, Robyn Millan <robyn . millan [at] dartmouth.edu>, and Eric Donovan <edonovan [at] ucalgary.ca>

The GEM Magnetic Mapping Focus group is pleased to announce our sessions for Snowmass 2012. (Please note updated rooms and date for the final session).

  • Monday at 3:30 in the Salon D room we will begin with a session focusing on a variety of mapping techniques. We will especially focus on newer techniques not discussed previously.
  • Tuesday at 3:30 in the Salon D room will be a joint session with the Substorms group focusing on mapping specific to the late growth phase.
  • Finally, Thursday at 3:30 in the Salon C room we will brainstorm ideas for a challenge for our focus group. We will also discuss developing a review article on mapping techniques.
  • Also, the plenary session by Misha Sitnov (8:30 - 10 on Wednesday) is on empirical magnetic field modeling of interest to both mapping and GGCM modeling concerns.

Those interested in volunteering for any of these exciting, challenging topics, please contact Liz MacDonald, Robyn Millan, and/or Eric Donovan at your earliest convenience. For more information, please see http://www-ssc.igpp.ucla.edu/gemwiki/index.php/FG:_Scientific_Magnetic_Mapping_%26_Techniques

Plasmasphere-Magnetosphere Interactions (PMI)

Conveners: Jerry Goldstein <jgoldstein [at] swri.edu>, Maria Spasojevic <mariaspasojevic [at] stanford.edu>, and Joe Borovksy <jborovsky [at] lanl.gov>

Update 6/6/2012: The updated schedule for PMI sessions can be found here.

The PMI focus group invites presentation and participation in five (5) sessions at this year's GEM summer workshop. The session list and topic descriptions are listed below.

Please e-mail us for a speaking slot (with your Name and Talk Title, and desired session slot if appropriate).

If you are willing to chair a session please let us know.


  • Mon, 18 Jun; 3:30 - 5:00 (Kearns): Density, Waves, & Fields I
  • Tue, 19 Jun; 10:30 - 12:15 (Kearns): GEM PMI Challenge I
  • Tue, 19 Jun; 1:30 - 3:00 (Kearns): GEM PMI Challenge II
  • Tue, 19 Jun; 3:30 - 5:00 (Kearns): GEM PMI Challenge III
  • Wed, 20 Jun; 1:30 - 3:00 (Kearns): Density, Waves, & Fields II
  • Wed, 20 Jun; 3:30 - 5:00 (Kearns): Overflow talks and Plenary Wrap-Up

Topic Descriptions:

Density, Waves, & Fields (I and II)

These sessions highlight the latest observations and modeling results on the following science topics:

  1. Plasmaspheric density: formation, evolution, morphology, 3D structure.
  2. Electric field, region 2 currents, and ionospheric conductivity.
  3. Location and structure of the plasmapause and drainage plumes.
  4. Plasmaspheric boundary layer (PBL) physics.
  5. Waves: generation, propagation, and energetic particle effects.

We request that presentations be short and concise to encourage extensive and informal discussion.

GEM PMI Challenge (I, II, and III)

These sessions highlight the latest data and modeling contributions to the PMI Modeling Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to evaluate the current state of modeling plasmaspheric density and dynamics and their impact on various magnetospheric processes. Two events have been selected: a disturbance interval (8 - 11 June 2001) and a quiet interval (2 - 5 February 2001). The website for the PMI Modeling Challenge is http://vlf-sharealike.stanford.edu/~gem/

Substorm Expansion Onset: The First 10 Minutes

Conveners: Vassilis Angelopoulos <vassilis [at] ucla.edu>, Shin Ohtani <Shin.Ohtani [at] jhuapl.edu>, Kazuo Shiokawa <shiokawa [at] stelab.nagoya-u.ac.jp>, and Andrei Runov <arunov [at] igpp.ucla.edu>

We would like to invite contributions to the Substorm Expansion Onset: The First 10 Minutes Focus Group at the upcoming GEM meeting in Snowmass. The Focus Group goals and other information are available at at:


The Focus Group will hold three sessions on Tuesday, June 19. The first two sessions (starting at 10:30 and at 1:30) will cover the following topics:

  • Relative timing between onset signatures in space and on the ground
  • Substorm signatures propagation from tail toward the inner magnetosphere and to the ground
  • Substorm-related processes in the tail-dipole transition region
  • Substorm signatures beyond -30 RE, including Lunar orbit and distant tail

They will be led by: Vassilis Angelopoulos (vassilis at ucla.edu), Shin Ohtani (Shin.Ohtani at jhuapl.edu), Kazuo Shiokawa (shiokawa at stelab.nagoya-u.ac.jp), and Andrei Runov (arunov at igpp.ucla.edu)

The third session (starting at 3:30) will be joint with the Magnetic Mapping Focus group and will discuss problems of late growth phase mapping. It will be led by: Shin Ohtani (Shin.Ohtani at jhuapl.edu) and Eric Donovan (Eric <edonovan at ucalgary.ca>)

Presentations based on data analysis, theory, and modeling are welcome. Each speaker will be allotted time for 5 minutes (3 slides) presentation, in order to ensure enough time for discussion. Please submit a title of your presentation and/or address your questions to the FG coordinators.

We look forward to seeing you in Snowmass. Vassilis, Shin, Kazuo, Andrei

Transient Phenomena at the Magnetopause and Bow Shock and Their Ground Signatures

Conveners: Hui Zhang <hzhang [at] gi.alaska.edu>, Q.-G. Zong <Qiugang_Zong [at] uml.edu>, Michael Ruohoniemi <mikeruo [at] vt.edu>, and David Murr <murrdl [at] augsburg.edu>

The "Transient Phenomena at the Magnetopause and Bow Shock and Their Ground Signatures" focus group will employ both observations and simulations to investigate the transient phenomena at the magnetopause and bow shock and their ground signatures. The goal of this focus group is to provide a fundamental physical understanding of the transient phenomena at the magnetopause and bow shock including magnetic reconnection, FTEs, and Hot Flow Anomalies. This focus group encourages participation from communities interested in spacecraft observations (e.g., THEMIS and Cluster), ground-based observations (all-sky camera, radar, magnetometer), and global simulations. Coordinated multi-point observations are especially encouraged. This focus group is unique in the sense that it connects phenomena in regions ranging from the distant solar wind, bow shock, magnetosheath, and magnetosphere, all the way down to the ionosphere. Thus it will attract participation from a broad community including CEDAR and SHINE who do not normally interact.

The "Transient Phenomena at the Magnetopause and Bow Shock and Their Ground Signatures" focus group will hold two sessions at the upcoming GEM Workshop in Snowmass, CO (1:30-3:30pm, 3:30-5:00pm on June 19, Tuesday). Please send the title of your presentation to Hui Zhang (hzhang at gi.alaska.edu) by June 8th.

Tail-Inner Magnetosphere Interactions

Conveners: Pontus C. Brandt <pontus.brandt [at] jhuapl.edu>, John Lyon <lyon [at] tinman.dartmouth.edu>, and Frank Toffoletto <toffo [at] rice.edu>

This is a call for contributions for the new GEM focus group FG on Tail-inner magnetosphere interactions. Part of this FG's goal is the understanding the transport and acceleration of plasma from the tail to the inner magnetosphere. An executive summary of the new focus group, can be found on the GEM wiki website (http://aten.igpp.ucla.edu/gemwiki/index.php/Main_Page).

We are asking that you keep your presentation to no more than 5 minutes (~3 slides), so as to allow plenty of time for discussion.

Of note, there will be 2 tutorials related to this FG, the first will be by Harry Warren: Tutorial on SADs and comparative solar/geospace system on Monday and the second by Dick Wolf on the tail on Thursday. Breakouts are scheduled for Wednesday morning and all-day Thursday.

If you are interested in making a presentation, please email us with a title.

Dayside FAC and Energy Deposition

Conveners: Jimmy Raeder <J.Raeder [at] unh.edu> and Delores Knipp <delores.knipp [at] gmail.com>

We would like to invite contributions to the Dayside FAC and Energy Deposition (FED) focus group at the upcoming GEM meeting in Snowmass. This will be the second year in which special sessions on this topic have been held. The effort focuses on explaining the relation between enhanced dayside Poynting flux and field-aligned currents, sources of field-aligned currents in the solar wind and magnetosphere and their impacts in the ionosphere-thermosphere system. The Focus Group goals and other information are at:


The FED focus group will hold a session on Thursday morning beginning at 10:30. The session will cover data, theory, and modeling aspects of the following topics:

  • Dayside Poynting Flux, Joule Heating and Their Relation to Field Aligned Currents
  • Particle Energy Deposition on the Dayside
  • Dissipation of Magnetospheric Energy in the Dayside Thermosphere
  • Thermospheric Density Enhancements and Traveling Atmo/Ionospheric
  • Disturbances Solar Wind Drivers for Extreme Dayside Poynting Flux Events

Each speaker will be allotted time for 5 slides, in order to ensure enough time for discussion. At least one of the slides should deal with unresolved issues. If you have not already done so, please send the title(s) and session(s) of your contribution(s) to us at your earliest convenience at the email addresses listed above.

Ion Outflow

Conveners: Dan Welling <dwelling [at] umich.edu>, Rick Chappell <rick.chappell [at] vanderbilt.edu>, and Bob Schunk <schunk [at] cc.usu.edu>

The GEM focus group on The Ionospheric Source of Magnetospheric Plasma - Measuring, Modeling and Merging Into the GEM GGCM will hold four sessions at the upcoming meeting in Snowmass. The conveners, Rick Chappell, Bob Schunk and Dan Welling would like to invite participation from the GEM community for any of the following four sessions. The sessions will begin with a summary overview talk and will be followed by contributed workshop-style talks with discussion.. The topics and times of the sessions are listed below. Please contact the session chairman for each of the four sessions to be added to the agenda for the session. We look forward to your participation in these sessions.

June 20, 2012; 3:30-5:00pm - Measurements of Ion Outflow in the Ionosphere and Magnetosphere. The Earth's ionosphere has been shown to be a significant contributor of plasma to different particle populations of the magnetosphere. Through a variety of energization processes, the low energy ionospheric particles are transported from low altitudes upward into the magnetosphere where they can become more energized and can help create fundamentally important regions such as the plasma sheet and ring current. This workshop will review and discuss observations of outflow in the ionosphere and magnetosphere as a stimulus for refining existing outflow models. Session Chairman: Rick Chappell (rick.chappell at vanderbilt.edu)

June 21, 2012; 8:15-10:00am - Modeling Ionospheric Outflow There is a continuous ion outflow from the Earth at high latitudes. The outflow consists of light thermal ions (H+ , He+ and O+) and energized ions (NO+, O2+, N2+, O+, N+, He+ and H+). The ion energization in the polar wind is associated with photoelectrons, hot magnetosphere electrons and ions, wave-particle interactions in the cusp and nocturnal oval at various altitudes, electromagnetic wave turbulence above the polar cap, and centrifugal acceleration. In addition, the ion outflow occurs in conjunction with magnetospheric convection, which causes the high-latitude plasma to drift into and out of the dayside ionosphere, cusp, polar cap, nocturnal auroral oval, and subauroral night-side ionosphere. Because of the complicated dynamics, various ion outflow models have been developed, including hydrodynamic (fluid), hydromagnetic, semi-kinetic, kinetic, generalized transport, and macroscopic particle-in-cell models. This workshop will identify the ionospheric outflow models that currently exist, establish the strengths and limitations of existing models, and determine the important outflow processes that need to be included in outflow models. Session Chairman: Bob Schunk (schunk at cc.usu.edu)

June 21, 2012; 1:30-3:00pm - Merging Outflow and GGCM Models Geospace Generalized Circulation Models (GGCMs), invaluable tools for studying the Earth's magnetosphere, have historically neglected the ionospheric source of magnetospheric plasma. Recently, an increased recognition of the importance of this source has spurred the magnetospheric modeling community towards finding new, innovative ways to include it in the large-scale models. This workshop will examine existing merging techniques between outflow and magnetosphere models and review recent discoveries concerning the impact ionospheric outflow has on the global magnetospheric results. Session Chairman: Dan Welling (dwelling at umich.edu)

June 21, 2012; 3:30-5:00pm - Outflow MMM Discussion and Planning The Ionospheric Source of Magnetospheric Plasma: Modeling, Measuring, and Merging into the GEM GGCM focus group (or simply Outflow MMM) is a focus group aimed at combining research of ionospheric outflow with Geospace General Circulation Models (GGCMs). The focus group has four major goals: refine existing outflow models through data-model comparisons, merge these models into the GGCMs and examine the impact on the magnetosphere, evaluate the coupled codes through data-model comparisons, and examine feedback from the magnetosphere to the ionospheric outflow. This session will summarize the Outflow MMM sessions that have taken place throughout the workshop and work with the GEM community to plan for the future of the 5-year focus group. Session Chairmen: Rick Chappell (rick.chappell at vanderbilt.edu) Bob Schunk (schunk at cc.usu.edu) Dan Welling (dwelling at umich.edu)

We look forward to your participation in these joint sessions.

Magnetosheath Studies

Conveners: Steven Petrinec <steve.petrinec [at] gmail.com> and Katariina Nykyri <nykyrik [at] erau.edu>

The Magnetosheath Focus Group will hold three sessions at the 2012 GEM Summer Workshop in Snowmass, CO (6/18; 10:30–12:15 & 13:30–15:00, and 6/19; 10:30-12:15). We cordially invite participants to provide short presentations related to any of the magnetosheath focus group topics listed below. We especially encourage data-analysts utilizing in-situ spacecraft measurements from the THEMIS, Cluster and Geotail missions, as well as theoretical modelers, global and local modelers to participate in this session. We also welcome magnetosheath study presentations relevant to other solar system bodies, as they relate to the terrestrial magnetosheath. Please send the title of your presentation to us by June 8th.

The Primary Objectives and Expected Activities of the FG:

1. To produce more comprehensive models of large scale magnetosheath flow and field patterns, and geometry of the magnetosheath region

2. To improve understanding of magnetosheath plasma instabilities and wave particle interactions: Spatial distribution and characteristics

3. To develop a better understanding of the effects on magnetospheric dynamics due to processes occurring in the magnetosheath and due to characteristic magnetosheath properties.

The focus group proposal with specific science questions can be found at http://aten.igpp.ucla.edu/gem/pdf/GEM_FG_MSheath_proposal.pdf .

Radiation Belts and Wave Modeling

Conveners: Yuri Shprits <yshprits [at] atmos.ucla.edu>, Scot Elkington, Jacob Bortnik, and Craig Kletzing

The RBW focus group will 6 sessions this year.

We invite members of the community to attend the sessions and participate in discussions on the following topics :

  • Mon (10:30am-12:15pm) AM 2: RBW 1 -- GEM particle transport challenge

(Jacob Bortnik, Craig Kletzing,Scot Elkington and Yuri Shprits)

  • Mon (1:30pm-3:00pm) PM 1: RBW 2 -- Dynamical modeling of the

radiation belts (Preparing Radiation Belt models for RBSP data) (Scot Elkington and Yuri Shprits)

  • Mon (3:30pm-5:00pm) PM 2: RBW 3 -- Wave-particle interactions

(Particle scattering and transport) (Scot Elkington and Yuri Shprits)

  • Tue (10:30am-12:15pm) AM 2: RBW 4 -- Wave excitation, propagation,

and distribution (ULF) (Jacob Bortnik and Craig Kletzing)

  • Tue (1:30pm-3:00pm) PM 1: RBW 5 -- Wave excitation, propagation, and

distribution (VLF/ELF) (Jacob Bortnik and Craig Kletzing)

  • Wed (10:30am-12:15pm) AM 2: RBW 6 -- GEM wave challenge, overflow

(Jacob Bortnik, Craig Kletzing,Scot Elkington and Yuri Shprits)

You can submit the title of your presentation online by following the link below to reserve a time slot during each individual session. We invite potential contributions and encourage to limit presentations to approximately 5 min.

Please submit the title of your presentations by June 5th at


In particular we would like to encourage modelers to participate in the GEM particle modeling challenge. Data for the GEM chellange and rules are given on ViRBO web site at http://virbo.org/RBW#2010_RBW_Challenge.

The Modes of Magnetospheric Response

Conveners: Larry Kepko <larry.kepko [at] nasa.gov> and Bob McPherron <rmcpherr [at] ucla.edu>

The Modes of Magnetospheric Response focus group has as its aim the improvement of knowledge of the physical mechanisms that provide different dynamical modes of response of the magnetotail to the solar wind. These include substorms, steady magnetospheric convection, sawtooth injection events, pseudo breakups, and poleward boundary intensifications. A complete description of the FG and its goals can be found at http://bit.ly/beGmTF

The Modes of Magnetospheric Response focus group will hold two breakout sessions at the upcoming GEM Workshop (June 18-22) in Snowmass, CO. This is the last full year of the focus group, with next year as a wind-down. The breakouts will be loosely focused on the following two topics:

1. "Steady" magnetospheric convection. The last few years has seen much progress in our understanding of how and when the magnetosphere enters into a quasi-steady convective mode. It has also become clear that the level of particle energization and heating depends on the 'steadiness' of the convection. We will spend one breakout attempting to summarize our understanding of SMCs. We seek talks that address any aspect of this mode, including comparisons to other convective modes.

2. Drivers and effects of other convection modes. Examples include sawtooth events, the role of non-linear coupling to the solar wind driver, polar cap saturation, the role of ion outflow, ionospheric effects, and global simulation results.

Please contact Larry Kepko (larry dot kepko at nasa dot gov) or Bob McPherron (rmcpherr at ucla dot edu) for further information, or to be added to the schedule.

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