A research group within the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading
Welcome to the Space and Atmospheric Electricity (SPATE) research group homepage. SPATE focuses on a broad range of connected research topics, including:
  • Solar Physics
  • Heliospheric physics
  • Magnetospheric physics
  • Radiation belt physics
  • Space weather and climate
  • Atmospheric electricity
  • Ionospheric physics

For more information on our current research activities, please see our projects. Details of our research outputs can be found in our publications.


A diagnosis of the plasma waves responsible for the explosive energy release of substorm onset

View of auroral beads from the ISS. Credit: ESA. During geomagnetic substorms, stored magnetic and plasma thermal energies are explosively converted into plasma kinetic energy. This rapid reconfiguration of Earth’s nightside magnetosphere is manifest in the ionosphere as an auroral ...
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Nudging solar wind forecasts back towards reality

In order to forecast space weather, it is necessary to accurately model the solar wind, the continually expanding solar atmosphere which fills the solar system. At present, telescopic observations of the Sun’s surface are used to provide the starting conditions ...
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Modelling asymmetric current sheets in Earth’s magnetosphere

During a magnetic reconnection event, stored energy that had been bound up in stressed electromagnetic fields is released in the form of heat and the kinetic energy of particles. The NASA MMS mission is currently making diffusion-region measurements of these ...
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Forecast uncertainty in the near-Earth solar wind conditions

Long lead-time space-weather forecasts require accurate prediction of the solar wind conditions in near-Earth space. The current state-of-the-art involves coupled numerical models initialised using photospheric magnetic field observations. This deterministic approach means there is no estimate of forecast uncertainty. Large ...
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