ASIM research has three main general themes: Climate processes, the interplay of the atmosphere with the Earth's surface and changes of the atmosphere from space processes.
- Electrical discharges (TLEs) in the stratosphere and mesosphere
- X- and gamma-radiation from thunderstorms
- Water vapor transport
- Cloud nucleation
- Gravity waves
- Noctilucent clouds
- The dynamics of the upper atmosphere
Earth's surface and the atmosphere
- Dust storms
- Forest fires
Interactions of space processes with the atmosphere
- Comets and meteors
- NO from solar radiation
- Thunderstorm interactions with the ionosphere and magnetosphere
Measurements from other satellites and instrumentation on the ground and on aircraft and/or balloons will also be used.
Primary research objectives:
- Study the physics of TLEs including possible NOx production from TLEs. Optical detection of TLEs with high spatial and time resolution in selected spectral bands to have a comprehensive global survey.
- Study the physics of TGFs (Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes) and their relationship with TLEs and thunderstorms. X-ray and γ-ray detection of TGFs with high time resolution and at photon energies reaching between 10-keV up to 10 MeV.
- Simultaneous optical detection of thunderstorm and TLE activity with TGF activity. The optical instruments must view with the X- and γ-ray detector towards the nadir
- Study the coupling to the mesosphere, thermosphere and ionosphere of thunderstorms and TLEs
- Observations from space during a minimum of one year at all local times to observe seasonal and local time variations in thunderstorm, TLE and TGF activity.
Secondary research objectives:
- Spectroscopic studies of the aurora
- Studies of greenhouse gas concentrations above thunderstorms (NOx, O3)
- Studies of meteor ablation in the mesosphere and thermosphere.
Optical and X-ray measurements are used to study aurora, differential absorption of light emissions from lightning-illuminated thunderstorm clouds measured by photometers defines ozone column densities. NOx production in TLEs is to be monitored by the UV (145 – 230 nm) photometer and optical imaging and photometers will be used to study meteor ablation.