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Martin Cafolla

Position: 2nd year PhD student

Supervisors: Prof. Sandra Chapman, Dr Nick Watkins

Project Title: Quantifying Space Weather Turbulence, Extremes and Risk at Earth

Teaching: 1st year undergraduate Physics problems classes

Overview of Research

Space Weather is a growing field of research due to our dependence on Satellite/Space Technologies. There are many different branches of space weather research due to the vast magnetic environment created by the solar wind and Earth field system known as the Magnetosphere - this PhD focuses on the Ionosphere, the lowermost region that boarders the atmosphere.

Data from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) uses ground GNSS observations of Total Electron Content (TEC) with over 200 ground stations to compile 1 × 1 degree Global Ionospheric Maps (GIMs), produced every 15 minutes. These are available over 20 years (for ~2 solar cycles).

For each map we look for High-Density Regions (HDRs) of TEC, defined as the level exceeded by the top 1% of TEC in the map, in geomagnetic coordinates. We use a tracking algorithm over consecutive timestamps to define a set of labelled space-time HDRs. This analysis detects, labels and tracks HDR origin, path, areas, TEC intensities and duration. Examples of this tracking algorithm can be seen below:

Binary Image HDR detectionAnimated GIF of TEC HDRs in geomagnetic space

Given a set of geomagnetic indices (Dst, Kp and/or F10.7) for some date-time, we can determine how long an HDR will last for and how their size/brightness is affected across its duration.


Lead Author:


  • Meng, X., Verkhoglyadova, O. P., Chapman, S. C., Watkins, N. W., & Cafolla, M. (2024). Statistical characteristics of total electron content intensifications on global ionospheric maps. Space Weather, 22, e2023SW003695. DOI: 10.1029/2023SW003695

Talks and Poster Sessions

Conference Date Presentation Type Slides/Poster
EGU 2024 15/04/24 - 20/04/24 Poster  
Autumn MIST 2023 02/12/23 Presentation  


MSci in Mathematics and Physics within the Natural Sciences Programme, Durham University (2018-2022)



Office: PS1.17

Address: Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL

LinkedIn: LinkedIn