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General information

Reference : UMR5277-EMIDUP-054
Workplace : TOULOUSE
Date of publication : Friday, January 10, 2020
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 24 months
Expected date of employment : 1 March 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : between 3017 and 3730 € gross salary per month
Desired level of education : PhD
Experience required : 1 to 4 years


The EUHFORIA 2.0 project has been recently selected in the Horizon2020 call SU-SPACE-22-SEC-2019: Space Weather (PI: S. Poedts, KU Leuven, Belgium) and aims at developing the world's most advanced space weather forecasting tool. It will address geoeffectiveness, impacts and mitigation, including extreme events, related to solar eruptions, solar wind streams and Solar Energetic Particles, with particular emphasis on its application to forecast Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GICs) and radiation on geospace. In this context, IRAP-CNRS (Toulouse France) is involved in the development of the GICs forecasting work package by providing forecasts of geomagnetic variations at any point on the ground. The IRAP ionosphere group is thus seeking a post-doctoral researcher to lead these developments.


The work of the post-doctoral fellow will be divided in three tasks:

Task 1: during the first 6 months, a selection of magnetic storms will be done in order to carry out reference simulations with the IPIM model. These simulations will use realistic ionospheric convection inputs from SuperDARN and field-aligned current distribution derived from IRIDIUM-AMPERE. The results of the simulation will be calibrated using ionosondes or incoherent radars dataset according to a validation process developed by the team. The goal is to characterize the global environment for Magnetosphere-Ionosphere-Thermosphere system before the storm as well as the dynamics following the trigger.

Task 2: during the next 12 months, the IMM model will be extended to high-latitudes, where the terrestrial magnetic field is directly interacting with the solar wind. To do so, limits conditions along the polar boundary of the auroral oval will be modified through a field-aligned current model which will extend in the polar cap and which will be parametrized through coupling functions depending on solar wind parameters. These parameters are measured at L1, allowing 30 to 90 min forecast of the Earth's electrodynamics. In a second step, the IPIM and IMM models will be coupled and constrained by these coupling functions. Simulations of the new coupled IPIM-IMM model will be run on the magnetic storms events identified during Task 1 and compared to the results obtained with the IPIM-only model (with SuperDARN and AMPERE in inputs), in order to validate the coupling functions and the coupled model IPIM-IMM.

Task 3: during the last 6 months, the coupled IPIM-IMM model will be used to build a realistic ionospheric conductivity model including photoionization, precipitation and neutral atmosphere. Depending on operational needs, this conductivity model will be implemented either in the IMM model to retrieve self-consistent electrodynamics (forecast need) or used with SuperDARN convection maps (real-time need) to provide horizontal current maps. The Biot-Savart module, which will be developed to calculate the ground-level magnetic field perturbations induced by these currents, will then be used to provide necessary inputs for computing GIC maps.


- PhD in space physics or atmospheric physics
- Skills in computer programming

Work Context

The Institute of Research in Astrophysics et Planetology (IRAP) is a joint research unit (JRU n°5277) of Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier (UPS) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in which both entities put together staff and resources for the benefit of the laboratory, following agreements signed between them. IRAP is active in three main areas: solar system sciences, high energy astrophysics, and the cold universe, each covering theory, instrumentation, data interpretation, teaching and dissemination of knowledge. Research in the solar system group where the post-doctoral position will be filled in, covers two main fields: (1) natural plasmas; the ionised surroundings of the Earth and planets, the Sun and the interplanetary space; (2) planetology; the surfaces and the atmospheres of planets and moons. The Solar System group of IRAP is renowned for its high level of expertise in data analysis software development and physics modelling (AMDA, CLweb, 3DView, Propagation Tools, Transplanet:

Inside the Solar System group, the ionosphere group has long-standing expertise in the development of ionospheric models. First principle models of the ionosphere have been developed from the nineties, first for the high latitude region with the TRANSCAR model (Blelly et al., 1996; 2005) and then for mid and low latitudes with the IPIM model (Marchaudon and Blelly , 2015; Marchaudon et al., 2018; Blelly et al., 2019) taking into account the interhemispheric coupling via the plasmasphere region. Depending on the chosen spatial resolution, these models can efficiently describe multi-scale processes. In parallel, an Ionosphere- Magnetosphere electrodynamics Model IMM (Peymirat and Fontaine, 1994) has also been developed, with integration in recent years of the Tsyganenko T96 model for the magnetic field (Hurtaud et al., 2007) thereby improving the electrodynamics description. A few years ago, these models IPIM/TRANSCAR and IMM had been successfully coupled (Blelly, 2003), allowing a good description of the ionosphere medium with self-consistent energy inputs and sufficiently fast for space-weather forecasting. The group has also long technical expertise in ground-based instrumentation such as HF coherent radars (SuperDARN), incoherent radars (EISCAT) and ground-based magnetometers, as well as numerical and analytic methodological development for analyzing the data.

Blelly, P.-L. (2003), SpaceGRID Study Final Report. SGD-SYS-DAT-TN-100-1.2. Issue 1.2. SpaceGRID Consortium.
Blelly, P. -L., C. Lathuillère, B. Emery, J. Lilensten, J. Fontanari, and D. Alcaydé (2005), An extended TRANSCAR model including ionospheric convection: Simulation of EISCAT observations using inputs from AMIE, Ann. Geophys., 23, 419–431, doi:10.5194/angeo-23-419-2005.
Blelly, P.-L., A. Marchaudon, M. Indurain, O. Witasse, J. Amaya, B. Chide, N. André, V. Génot, A. Goutenoir, M. Bouchemit (2019), Transplanet: a web service dedicated to modeling of planetary ionospheres, Planetary and Space Science, 169, 35-44,
Blelly, P. -L., A. Robineau, J. Lilensten, and D. Lummerzheim (1996), 8-moment fluid models of the terrestrial high-latitude ionosphere between 100 and 3000 km, in Solar Terrestrial Energy Program Ionospheric Model Handbook, edited by R. Schunk, pp. 53–72, Utah State Univ., Logan.
Hurtaud, Y., C. Peymirat, and A. D. Richmond (2007), Modeling seasonal and diurnal effects on ionospheric conductances, region-2 currents, and plasma convection in the inner magnetosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 112, A09217, doi:10.1029/2007JA012257.
Marchaudon, A., and P.-L. Blelly, (2015), A new interhemispheric 16-moment model of the plasmasphere-ionosphere system: IPIM, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, doi:10.1002/2015JA021193.
Marchaudon, A., P.-L. Blelly, M. Grandin, A. Aikio, A. Kozlovsky, and I. Virtanen (2018), IPIM modeling of the ionospheric F2-layer depletion at high-latitudes during a high-speed stream event, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 123, 7051-7066,
Peymirat, C., and D. Fontaine (1994), Numerical simulation of magnetospheric convection including the effect of field-aligned currents and electron precipitation, J. Geophys. Res., 99(A6), 11,155–11,176.

Additional Information

Dr. Aurélie Marchaudon and Dr. Pierre-Louis Blelly
IRAP/CNRS, 9 avenue du Colonel Roche, 31400 Toulouse, France
Email : ;

Application submission:
The application must contain:
1. Curriculum Vitae (2 pages),
2. Summary of research achievements (2 pages),
3. List of publications
4. Name and contact of two professional references

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