Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Physics

Advisor/Chair:

Jan J. Sojka

Co-Advisor/Chair:

David Peak

Third Advisor:

Bela Fejer

Abstract

High frequency radio continues to be an important communications medium. For example, commercial airlines use high frequency radios as their primary communications mode during transpolar crossings. It has been estimated that over 7000 transpolar flights occur each year. Unfortunately, during geomagnetic storms high frequency communications can become unreliable, especially near Earth's Polar Regions.

Space weather forecasters are burdened with the responsibility of predicting how radio signals might be affected during geomagnetic storms and passing that important information on to commercial airlines, allowing them to adjust flight plans accordingly. Such adjustments can be costly, but are necessary to ensure safety of flight crews and passengers.

Currently, the state-of-the-art prediction tool is an empirical model that provides a qualitative analysis of current conditions. The goal of this dissertation was to investigate several important parameters that govern polar cap absorption events in hopes of improving the existing state-of-the-art.

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