News at the University of New Brunswick

Arctic research lands physics professor an invitation to speak at prestigious symposium in Norway

Author: Communications

Posted on Jun 7, 2017

Category: UNB Fredericton

For more than a decade, Dr. P.T. Jayachandran, chair of the physics department at the University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton campus, has been building a research network across the Arctic. Known as the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network, it has grown to be the largest ionospheric research network in the Arctic. Dr. Jayachandran’s work and expertise has not gone unnoticed. He has been invited to speak at the prestigious Birkeland Space Weather Symposium in Oslo, Norway. The 2017 Birkeland Space Weather Symposium marks 150 years since the birth of Kristian Birkeland, a Norwegian scientist known primarily for his research on the northern lights. The two-day symposium will be held on June 15 and 16. It acts as an opportunity for the global scientific community to come together and features speakers from around the world. Dr. Jayachandran will share UNB’s success in Arctic research and explain the industrial applications of monitoring the polar ionosphere and auroral ionosphere. The Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network collects data which is used to increase spatial resolution of ionospheric measurements and location positioning accuracy in the Arctic. Research performed at the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network confronts the challenges Canada is faced with as an Arctic nation. Addressing and resolving the effects of the release of energy from the sun on our modern technology in a technology-dependent society are the challenges undertaken by the research network. In coming years, the development of communication and navigation technologies for Arctic travel, exploration, mining and infrastructure development will have high economic value and social relevance. “As Earth's natural resources become more scarce, the development of the high Arctic will become economically appealing and more viable,” Dr. Jayachandran says. “Deglaciation in the Arctic is unveiling new targets for resource exploration.” Studies have proven natural events such as solar flares and storms affect satellite and radio communication, navigation systems, aviation safety, electrical power grids, and even our climate. Solar-terrestrial interactions have become increasingly relevant to the Canadian economy and society as the dependence on space technologies has risen. Dr. Jayachandran’s research focuses on understanding these interactions. “This will enable us to predict and forecast space weather and subsequently mitigate detrimental effects on communication and navigation technologies and other infrastructures,” says Dr. Jayachandran. The defence, communication and navigation industries need ionospheric information to improve location accuracy and uninterrupted services to their customers. Dr. Jayachandran’s research facilitates this by using the measurements from the Arctic. “Any industry that depends on the accuracy of navigation systems and reliability of satellite as well as high-frequency communication systems needs our help,” says Dr. Jayachandran. “For example, if we are drilling using a GPS aid, centimetre accuracy is necessary. And if we are flying commercial airlines from North America to Europe and Asia using a circumpolar route, the airline needs to know the status of the ionosphere for high-frequency communication systems.” The invitation to speak at the Birkeland Space Weather Symposium is an opportunity to share UNB’s knowledge in the industrial and commercial application of this information. UNB is a pioneer in the emerging field of ionospheric research and industrial application. “We are well ahead of everybody else in the world,” says Dr. Jayachandran. During the 30-minute talk, he will convey how UNB succeeded in understanding industry needs and communicating with industry members. Dr. Jayachandran hopes this will inspire other researchers to work with the industry. Dr. Jayachandran explains he is sharing UNB’s success story and trade secrets “for the benefit of humankind.” Media contact: Kelly Stewart, 506-470-3413