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SEC- Sun Earth Connections Programme


SEC describes and quantifies the key mechanisms by which variations in the solar wind and solar high-energy radiation affect the Earth's atmosphere, to determine whether or not these have a significant effect on Earth's climate system. It looks at the atmosphere and geospace as a unified whole, opening the way to the development of more realistic numerical models of the climate system. It is part of the BAS GSAC five year research programme, it was funded by NERC and covered a period from 2005 to 2009.

Data will be collected using radars, balloons and ground-based instruments in the Antarctic to measure the effects of solar variability on energetic particles, atmospheric chemistry and electric fields, winds, tides and planetary waves from the troposphere to the thermosphere. To complement these observations and assess the global impact, a new model of the radiation belts will be developed and linked to existing atmospheric chemistry and General Circulation Models.

SEC comprises two projects:

  • HOLISTIC- HOlistic Links between the Ionosphere, Stratosphere and Troposphere and their Influence on Climate
  • WARP- Whole Atmosphere consequences of Radiation-belt Processes

SEC has links with CACHE, ACES and COMPLEXITY.

Scientific Objectives

  • Quantify the key mechanisms of indirect links between the Sun and the Earth's atmosphere: via solar and radiation belt particles, the geodetic field and atmospheric waves
  • Determine how the effect of solar variability may be amplified through those links and the significance for climate
  • Determine the evolution of atmospheric change over time due to indirect influences, on different timescales and at different ephocs

Data Availability

Data sets collected during this project are available to the academic community.

Acronyms used in the text:

BAS- British Antarctic Survey

GSAC- Global Science in an Antarctic Context

NERC- Natural Environment Research Council

CACHE- Climate and Chemistry: forcings, feedbacks and phasings in the Earth system

ACES- Antarctic Climate and the Earth System

COMPLEXITY- Natural Complexity Programme