Due to the plasma nature of the ionosphere, the study of electromagnetic wave propagation and other processes can be a complicated issue. One way of modelling ionospheric processes is through the set of equations:
Equation 1 is known as the continuity equation, and equation 2 is known as the potential equation.
My current research involves solving these equations under different sets of parameters and initial conditions and observing the results. I have developed a FORTRAN program that solves the above set of equations using spectral techniques. As of now the program is a 2 dimensional solver, and I do not expect to add the third dimension during the time frame of this project. The program uses a predictor-corrector algorithm for time advancement, and I am currently trying to speed up the program by also incorporating a combination of leapfrog and leapfrog-trapezoidal algorithms. Therefore, I am currently generating datasets that I will need to complete my project. The solution of the above set of equations is computationally intensive, and I hope to be able to use a supercomputer to speed up the generation of datasets.
The main objectives of the class project will be:
1) To develop a system that will allow a user to gain a better understanding of ionospheric processes. Some of the processes that will be observed are various regions of turbulence due to gradients and instabilities in shear and wind velocities. This can be done by developing an interactive system that will allow a user to navigate through the graphics, and to observe the results of changing certain parameters.
2) Develop a brief multimedia presentation to present the results to an audience of graduate students not familiar with electromagnetic wave propagation or ionospheric properties.
The visualization emphasis will be on developing an AVS module. I am using AVS because of the software packages available it allows for the most flexibility. As of yet I have not explored the tools available in the Multimedia lab, but I am anticipating that my final multimedia presentation will be placed onto a VHS videotape.