ICESTAR is co-led by Allan Weatherwax (USA) and Kirsti Kauristie (Finland) and it is a Scientific Research Project supported by SCAR to:
- Quantifying and understanding the similarities and differences between the Northern and Southern polar upper atmospheres;
- Quantifying the effects on the polar ionosphere and atmosphere of the magnetospheric electromagnetic fields and plasma populations;
- Quantifying the atmospheric consequences of the global electric circuit and further understanding the electric circuit in the middle atmosphere;
- Creating a data portal to integrate all of the polar data sets and modeling results.
ICESTAR works organizing meetings every 2 years and endorsing meetings of scientific teams dealing with specific scientific themes included in the project. ICESTAR has been very active within the IPY and IHY initiatives also in the frame of outreach and educational efforts. The project tries to put in contact different communities to favorite the interchange of expertise and data in the atmospheric research. Young researchers have been often asked to present their recent results on behalf of the ICESTAR community. I have personally led, together with another young scientist, Dr. Andrew J. Kavanagh (Lancaster University, UK) the preparation of a paper presenting some of the IPY capabilities to probe the high latitude ionosphere under the ICESTAR umbrella (Alfonsi et al., Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 2008).
During the ICESTAR business meeting in Buenos Aires, Allan Weatherwax has asked to close the project asking to continue the activity as an Action Group to stimulate the collaboration among the communities. One important result achieved by ICESTAR is the constitution of an Action Group born two years ago during the SCAR meeting in St. Petersburg and named GPS FOR WEATHER AND SPACE WEATHER FORECASTING (GWSWF). It is a joint initiative between the Physical Science Standing Group and the Geosciences Standing Group and it is addressed to the use of GPS data from polar regions to investigate upper and middle-lower atmosphere (http://www.scar.org/researchgroups/gpsforweather.html).
Thanks to the SCAR support the GWSWF succeeded in financing the travel expenses of a PhD student, Ms. Heloísa Alves da Silva, coming from Brazil to attend the meeting in Buenos Aires and to give a poster presentation. During the SCAR meeting in Buenos Aires the GWSWF community has asked to continue the activity as Action Group with the aim of exploring the possibility to become a Scientific Research Project during the next SCAR meeting in Oregon in 2012. The minutes of the GWSWF business meeting held in Buenos Aires will be soon published on the SCAR website, together with other information about a next meeting to be held in Italy next spring, supported and endorsed by SCAR. The GWSWF Action Group is looking for scientists interested in the proposed topics with special emphasis on young researchers. The ICESTAR leaders are actively involved on that supporting the ICESTAR legacy within the GWSWF action.