LASP at AGU 2023


LASP at AGU 2023

Below is a guide to notable research from LASP being presented at the hybrid Dec. 11-15 American Geophysical Union 2023 meeting, the world’s largest gathering of Earth and space scientists. Presentations are listed in chronological order, and all times are CST.

Media contacts:
Terri Cook,, +1 (303) 817-0443
Sara Pratt,, +1 (303) 735-6614

Enhancing demographics and career pathways of the space science workforce in the US
Fran Bagenal, LASP

Studies of the STEM workforce show the “pinch point” where the demographics narrow down is at the high school to college stages. In this talk, Bagenal presents demographics data for the space sciences workforce, compares them to other STEM fields, and considers actions that could be made nationally by federal agencies, locally by an institution, or individually to enhance and diversify the career pathway through the space sciences.

Thurs., Dec. 14, 17:05 - 17:15 PST | Room S203 | ED44A-07

GOLD Mission Observation of the October 14, 2023 Solar Eclipse
Saurav Aryal, LASP

Impulsive reduction in incident high-energy solar radiation caused by eclipses make them natural experiments to study the response of Earth’s thermosphere-ionosphere (T-I) to such events. Aryal discusses how NASA’s Global Observation for Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission is uniquely positioned to observe eclipse induced T-I response and present preliminary results from the October 2023 annular eclipse, as well as plans for the April 2024 total solar eclipse.

Mon., Dec. 11, 08:30-12:50 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | SA11C-2465

Deep convection driven from the solar surface
Bhishek Manek, LASP

Solar convection serves as the primary mechanism for energy transport in the Sun's outer envelope. This dynamic process is prominently observed on the visible surface of the Sun, known as the photosphere, and it manifests itself at various length- and time-scales. Different techniques used to probe the Sun’s subsurface convection yield conflicting results regarding the amplitudes and character of the convective flows, giving rise to what is known as the 'convective conundrum.' In this talk, Manek presents 3D Cartesian simulations demonstrating the onset and establishment of a deep solar convection zone. The findings illuminate the physical processes driving solar convection at multiple scales.

Mon., Dec. 11, 09:09-09:21 PST | Room S213-214 | SH11B-04

The Magnitude and Variability of Extraterrestrial Solar Spectral Irradiance (Invited)
Odele Coddington, LASP

Solar spectral irradiance is a fundamental quantity for Earth’s energy and climate studies. Since 2018, unprecedented observations made by NASA’s Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) have advanced understanding of the magnitude and variability of this variable. Coddington presents plans to translate these advances into version 3 of the NOAA/NCEI Solar Irradiance Climate Data Record slated for release in August 2024.

Mon., Dec. 11, 09:25-09:35 PST | Room W3000 | A11G-06

MiniMag: A Magnetometer Based on the Faraday Effect for Space Applications
Kaitlin McAllister, LASP and University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Future space exploration will benefit from highly sensitive magnetometers. In this talk McAllister presents a concept for a new magnetometer whose design will be small enough to fit on a CubeSat. This will enable easier and less expensive magnetic field measurements with better sensitivity over a larger range of frequencies than those currently used in space.

Mon., Dec. 11, 17:20-17:30 PST | Room S208 | SA14A-09

Concurrent GOLD and SABER Observation of Thermosphere Composition and Temperature Responses to the April 24, 2023, Geomagnetic  Storm
Xuguang Cai, LASP

In this talk, Cai reports the thermosphere composition and temperature responses to a severe geomagnetic storm in solar cycle 25, which occurred from April 23-24, 2023. The team examined differences within the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere using observations from NASA’s Global Observation for Limb and Disk (GOLD) and TIMED (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics and Dynamics) spacecraft.

Tues. Dec. 12, 11:20-11:30 PST | Room S207 | SA22A-07

First Limb Images of a Thermospheric Gravity Wave Obtained with Solar EUV Imaging Occultations
Ed Thiemann, LASP

Thiemann presents images of a series of gravity waves associated with geomagnetic activity caused by a high-speed solar wind stream. Developed using instrumentation aboard the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) -R series, these images are the first simultaneous measurements of gravity waves’ horizontal and vertical wavelengths above 200 km. The results demonstrate the potential of this technique and provide new observations for understanding gravity wave propagation in Earth’s thermosphere.

Fri. Dec. 15, 14:10-18:30 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | A53K-2386

Space Weathering Provides a Lower Limit on the Age of Saturn’s Rings
Larry Esposito, LASP

Space weathering processes modify the meteoritic material that has bombarded Saturn's rings, which in turn increases estimates of their age. Esposito combines modeling results that incorporate observations of Comet P67 from ESA’s Rosetta mission, plus data from two instruments aboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, providing a minimum ring age of 400 to 1600 million years. This result shows Saturn’s rings may be as old as the planet itself.

Mon. Dec. 11, 11:15-11:25 PST | Room S216 | P12B-06

Modeling the Effect of a Faint Young Sun on Venus’ Cloud Structure
Grace Fassio, REU student at LASP

On Venus, sunlight helps generate the clouds of sulfuric acid that cover the planet today. Fassio reports the results of modeling the effects of a less luminous Sun during the Archean eon (3.8-2.5 billion years ago). The findings suggest the fainter Sun resulted in fewer clouds, and that Venus’ cloud mass increased the same amount in the last billion years as it did from 4.7-1.17 billion years combined. 

Mon., Dec. 11, 14:10-18:30 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | P13C-2805

Archaean Stromatolites on Modern Earth with Implications for Mars
Brian M. Hynek, LASP/CU Boulder

Hynek has characterized what is believed to be one of the best proxies for the earliest macrofossils on planet Earth. These modern settings show a similar set of microbes and environmental conditions building the equivalent fossils to what was occurring 3.5 billion years ago. These types of modern settings may be key to understanding the earliest lifeforms preserved in Earth's rock record with similar implications for Mars.

Mon., Dec. 11, 14:10-18:30 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | P13C-2812

The Mars Space Weather Collaboration
Phillip Chamberlin, LASP

Space weather has traditionally explored the Sun’s influence on the Earth system and human technology. With future plans to send humans to Mars, space weather has recently expanded to include the entire heliosphere. One critical asset that has made studying space weather at Mars possible is NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN). This presentation provides an overview of the new Mars Space Weather Collaboration, which is exploring available data and whether it’s possible to implement near real- time space weather information at Mars and beyond.

Tues., Dec. 12, 08:30-12:50 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | SH21E-2936

Magnetospheric processes mediate atmospheric escape at Earth, Mars, and Venus: key open questions demand renewed Venus exploration (Invited)
Michael Chaffin, LASP

Earth, Mars, and Venus span a range of magnet field configurations. These lead to differences in the processes driving atmospheric escape from each planet, which may have led to the different evolutionary trajectories and vastly different habitability of these planets. As the world’s space agencies turn their eyes toward Venus, the essential role played by the magnetosphere in mediating the planet’s evolution should not be overlooked: future upper atmosphere measurements at Venus are likely to illuminate magnetosphere-escape coupling processes throughout the cosmos.

Tues., Dec. 12, 10:30-10:40 PST | Room S208 | SM22B-02

Ultraviolet Spectroscopy: an Essential Window into Planetary Phenomena in the Uranus System (Invited)
Gregory Holsclaw, LASP 

The planetary decadal survey published in 2022 identified a Uranus Orbiter and Probe mission as the priority flagship in the coming decade to study the system’s thin rings, unique moons, tilted magnetic field, and cold atmosphere. In this presentation Holsclaw provides examples of the cross-disciplinary science that an ultraviolet spectrometer would provide to this mission.

Wed., Dec. 13, 08:30-12:50 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | P31E-3128

New Horizons/Student Dust Counter Measurements: The Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt at 56 AU Heliocentric Distance (Invited)
Alex Doner, LASP/CU Boulder

The New Horizons spacecraft's Student Dust Counter (SDC) is mapping dust size and density distributions along its path through the solar system, with a focus on the Kuiper Belt as a source of interplanetary dust particles. We present the latest SDC measurements through 56 AU including a peak dust flux near 55 AU, which is higher than initial models predict, highlighting the importance of ongoing SDC measurements for understanding the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt and interpreting dust disks around stars.

Mon., Dec. 11, 11:25 - 11:35 PST | Room S216 | P12B-07

Modeling Lunar Dust Behavior to Advance the Effectiveness of Dust Mitigation Techniques
Jan Deca, LASP/CU Boulder

Dust on the lunar surface severely affects the operation of instruments and poses a risk to the health and safety of astronauts. To develop mitigation techniques vital for the success of future lunar exploration, the behavior of lunar dust must be better characterized. We present a state-of-the-art numerical framework that integrates microphysics and plasma interactions across various scales, allowing simulation of dust behavior, charging, and transport. The model, validated with experiments, accounts for cohesion and adhesion effects to enhance our understanding of transport of lunar dust particles in a variety of operational scenarios

Tues., Dec. 12, 14:32 - 14:42 PST | Room S215 | P23B-03

Unveiling Uranus System Evolution Through the In-Situ Analysis of Dust Particles from its Rings and Moons
Sean Hsu, LASP/CU Boulder

From the time of their formation, the moons and rings of a planetary system preserve a record of its evolution. Here we highlight cross-disciplinary science opportunities that can be achieved by a dust analyzer, like Cassini’s Cosmic Dust Analyzer, for a future Uranian mission. Its capability to characterize the composition of Uranus’ moons and rings, as well as the interactions with exogenous interplanetary dust populations, will offer crucial data on the origin, evolution, and dynamics of the Uranian system.

Wed., Dec. 13, 14:10 - 18:30 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | P33G-3222

SUDA: A SUrface Dust Analyser for compositional mapping of the Galilean moon Europa
Sascha Kempf, LASP/CU Boulder

Planetary moons that lack atmospheres, such as the Galilean satellites, are surrounded by dust from the moon's surface produced by micrometeorite impacts. The Surface Dust Analyzer (SUDA) is a dust impact mass spectrometer onboard the Europa Clipper mission for investigating the surface composition of the Galilean moon Europa. SUDA will measure the composition of such surface ejecta during close flybys at Europa to obtain key chemical constraints for revealing the satellite's composition, history, and geological evolution, and allow the mapping of many organic and inorganic components. 

Thurs., Dec. 14, 8:30 - 12:50 | Poster Hall A-C - South | P41F-3247

Possible Thermal Precursor Signal of Martian Dust Storms
Heshani Pieris, LASP/CU Boulder

The study explores the relationship between daytime surface temperatures and the onset of dust storms on Mars. Using data from Mars Climate Sounder, the researchers observe a potential surface warming of up to 15 K before some large dust storms. The data analysis points to a connection between solar heating of the surface and dust storm activity that warrants further investigation.

Fri., Dec. 15, 8:30 - 12:50 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | P51F-2768

Expected Scientific Contributions of the Interstellar Dust Experiment (IDEX) onboard the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) Mission
Mihaly Horanyi, LASP/CU Boulder

The Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) launching in 2025 will investigate the origin of Solar System dust. Using the Interstellar Dust Experiment (IDEX) instrument, IMAP aims to characterize interstellar dust particles, assessing their size, composition, and flux. IDEX will determine if dust from the local interstellar cloud provided the feedstock for forming the Solar System, and will explore  asteroids and various comet families to determine if they share a common source or are formed from distinct reservoirs.

Fri. Dec. 15, 9:00 - 9:03 PST | eLightning Theater VI, South Hall D | SH51H-10

Dust impact plasma seen by the Cassini Langmuir probe in Enceladus’ plume
Sean Hsu, LASP/CU Boulder

Enceladus’ plume provides a unique window to study moon-magnetosphere interactions, as well as its subsurface ocean. However, due to its high dust content, it is also one of the most complex space plasma environments ever explored. Previous assumptions about the grains’ interactions with plasma are now being challenged by reanalyzed Cassini data, which indicates high-speed dust impacts can be a source of low-temperature plasma. Using multiple in situ datasets, along with recent laboratory experiments, we derive new dust-mass densities in Enceladus' plume useful for planning future explorations.

Fri. Dec. 15, 11:05 - 11:15 PST | Room S205-206 | SM52B-05

Magnetic signatures of the January 15, 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai Volcanic Eruption (Invited)
Neesha Schnepf, LASP/CU Boulder

The January 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai submarine volcanic eruption provided the first known opportunity to study marine magnetic signals from a submarine eruption. Here we present data identifying magnetic signals likely caused by the eruption at three different Pacific island geomagnetic observatories. Identifying magnetic signals from different aspects of an eruption can lead to a better understanding of the eruption's mechanisms, as well as potentially improve warning systems for the tsunami created by the eruption.

Mon., Dec. 11, 08:32 - 08:42 PST | Room S207 | GP11A-01

Analyzing the Magnetic Signals of Tsunami Waves Using a Long-Term Seafloor Magnetometer Observatory
Neesha Schnepf, LASP/CU Boulder 

Earth’s salty oceans are an electrically conductive fluid traveling through the planet’s magnetic field. As such, they produce electromagnetic fields. Tsunami magnetic signals can provide information on the tsunami water wave, including height, velocity, and direction, as well as the tsunami’s geophysical source, and may one day be used to improve tsunami warning systems. We propose a long-term, real-time magnetometer observatory off the coast of Oregon to test theoretical hypotheses and to provide the first observations of tsunamis caused by earthquakes of M < 8.0.

Mon., Dec. 11, 14:10 - 18:30 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | GP13C-0501

Examples and Limitations of Retrieving Vertical Profiles of Cloud Droplet Effective Radius Using Multispectral Measurements from MODIS
Andrew Buggee, LASP/CU Boulder 

MODIS and VIIRS have been used for two decades to retrieve a column-averaged value of the average droplet size within clouds, which is used to study cloud properties such as droplet growth, the onset of precipitation, and cloud radiative feedback. Some of these instruments fly on-board two of NASA’s flagship satellites, Terra and Aqua, which will be deorbiting in the coming years. A new hyperspectral imaging spectrometer being built by LASP will fly onboard CLARREO Pathfinder and measure reflectance over hundreds of wavelengths. This enables the retrieval of cloud droplet size at different depths within the cloud, enabling the study of the vertical structure of clouds from space using a passive instrument for the first time. This new capability will help determine where and how concentrated droplets are within a cloud. The newly developed method significantly benefits from the reduced uncertainty of CLARREO Pathfinder's LASP-built spectrometer.

Tues., Dec. 12, 14:10 - 18:30 PST | Poster Hall A-C - South | A23S-2626

Characterizing Radiative Properties of Tropical Deep Convective Clouds and Anvils by Combining CERES with MODIS and CloudSat/CALIPSO Measurements
Kang Yang, LASP/CU Boulder 

Tropical convective systems play a critical role in vertical heat and moisture transport and shaping Earth’s radiation budget. However, their interactions are still poorly understood and not well represented in global climate models. Using Aqua MODIS and CloudSat/CALIPSO measurements, along with machine learning, we developed a new MODIS-based algorithm to separate deep convective clouds (DCC) from thick anvil clouds. The algorithm improves detection rates considerably, while reducing false identifications.

Thus., Dec. 14, 8:30 - 12:50 PST | Poster Hall A-C – South | A41L-2792

Tropical Cyclone Dynamics Inferred from Aircraft Eye and Eyewall Cloud Observations
Ethan Murray, LASP/CU Boulder

To better understand why some tropical cyclones rapidly gain strength, we must observe the fine details of eye and eyewall clouds, as these unique cloud formations influence the dynamics at the centers of tropical cyclones. Using a new aircraft remote sensing platform to collect cloud height, temperature, and water vapor data, we created, for the first time, distributions of tropical cyclone eye and eyewall cloud heights that better link cloud structure to mesoscale dynamics and thermodynamics. This work sheds new light on how tropical cyclone characteristics influence eye and eyewall cloud formation, and offers a path towards improving important intensity change forecasts.

Fri., Dec. 15, 11:17 - 11:28 PST | Room W3005 | A52F-06

The Role of the Polar Vortex in Sun-Earth Coupling via the Descent of EPP-produced NOx (Invited)
V Lynn Harvey, LASP/CU Boulder 

In the polar regions, the wintertime polar vortices play a critical role in both "bottom-up" atmospheric coupling, via its modulation of planetary and gravity waves, as well as "top-down" coupling, via the transport of nitrogen oxides created by energetic particle precipitation. This talk will present the current state of understanding regarding the role of the polar vortex in coupling different atmospheric layers via both “bottom-up” and “top-down” processes. Challenges in modeling these processes, outstanding questions, and future directions are also discussed.

Fri., Dec. 15, 16:15 - 16:30 | Room S207 | SM54A-03

Recent News: