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Luminous Atmospheric Layers as Environmental Indicators


Atmospheric Luminous Layers as an Effective Indicator for Monitoring of Responses of Nuclear and Seismic Hazards in the Caucasus Region

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Evgeni Kharadze Georgian National Astrophysical Observatory, Georgia, Tbilisi

Supporting institutes

  • Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, Armenia, Byurakan


  • University of California at Berkeley/Seismo ogical Laboratory, USA, CA, Berkeley\nCNRS / Laboratoire de Physique et Chemie de L'Environnement, France, Orleans\nUniversity of Michigan/ College of Engineering/Spase Physics Laboratory, USA, MI, Ann Arbor\nHigh Altitude Observatory, USA, CO, Boulder\nUniversity York Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science, Canada, ON, Toronto

Project summary

The purpose of the project is the revealing of coupling and the creation of a model of characteristic physical processes in the Earth’s crust – atmosphere – ionosphere system in the seismically active region of Caucasus region by means of monitoring of the luminous atmospheric layers as an indicator of radioactive residues (arising in the Earth’s atmosphere after nuclear explosions, accidents on atomic power stations, reactors and from storehouses of nuclear wastes and seismic activity with the help of devices for registration of the responses of artificial and natural accidents.

The urgency of the problem is caused by a catastrophic increase in anthropogenous pollution of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, first of all, with radioactive wastes from nuclear accidents and by destructions due to the earthquakes. In this connection there arises a necessity of the simultaneous monitoring of the mentioned processes by various (optical, radiophysical, magnetometric) methods, of the creation of a physical model of coupling in the Earth’s crust-atmosphere-ionosphere system for forecasting and reduction of damage from nuclear and seismic accidents. Some of these methods are new. This concerns a magnetometer working on the basis of high-temperature superconductivity and allowing to measure a magnetic field with an accuracy of 10-4 relative to the magnitude of magnetic field of the Earth’s crust with frequencies of infrasonic oscillations, typical of seismic phenomena in the Caucasus region. New and unique are also the planned investigations from the Abastumani (Georgia, 41.8°N, 42.8°E) and the Byurakan (Armenia, 40.3°N, 45°E) observatories having favorable atmospheric conditions and opportunity for optical monitoring of the luminous layers. Ground-based methods will also be used: a radiophysical, a hydroacoustic and a new nuclear method on the basis of the Mössbauer effect. On the basis of experimental results obtained by the above mentioned methods, models of processes proceeding in the Earth - atmosphere-ionosphere system during nuclear and seismic accidents will be created. This calls for the creation of a theory of processes of excitation and propagation of acoustic-gravity waves (AGW) by analogy with physics of cold plasma in view of the vertical structure of the ionospheric and luminous layers (including the difference of potentials) and their connection with the temperature gradient. The applied part of the project seeks to create an integrated method for maintenance of real monitoring of the formation and dynamics of catastrophic processes proceeding on the Earth.

The aim of the project is also the transformation of the facilities created within the framework of defence programs and the reorientation of scientific staff toward the performance of tasks of civil purpose.

Scientific and practical values:

– the scientific part of the project comprises the development of a theory of propagation of infrasonic oscillations in the Earth- atmosphere-ionosphere system;

– development of a theory of nightglow under the influence of AGW for different structures composing the luminous layers at meso- and thermospheric heights;

– experimental research of airglow under the influence of AGW;

– comparison of ground-based photometric observations in the OH (8-3) band and in the green 557.7 nm and the red 630.0 nm lines with WINDII data on the American satellite UARS;

– experimental measurements of the parameters of seismic oscillations of the Earth’s crust;

– comparison of theoretical results with experimental ones and creation of a unified model for the performance of the tasks according to the project;

– carrying out measurements of the intensity of twilight on the Li and BaI impurities with the aim of revealing consequences of nuclear accidents.

The expected results of the project can be not only of great scientific importance, but also of economic, commercial and industrial interest in terms of their use in science, engineering and national economy.

The submitted project is made according to the ISTC instructions and is necessitated by the creation of alternatives for scientists and engineering staff engaged earlier in the sphere of development of weapons of mass destruction.

The role of a foreign collaborator will consist in exchange of information during the realization of the project, offering of information concerning theoretical and experimental works in the given area.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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