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Dr. Craig Kletzing


The University of Iowa

Professor Craig Kletzing


  • Professor, University of Iowa, 2005-present
  • Associate Professor, University of Iowa (1996-2005)
  • Associate Research Professor, University of New Hampshire (1995-1996)
  • Visiting Scientist, Max Planck Intitut fuer extraterrestrische Physik (1993-1994)
  • Assistant Research Professor, University of New Hampshire (1989-1995)
  • Research Assistant Professor, University of Alabama at Huntsville (1989)


  • Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, Physics, 1989
  • M.S., University of California, San Diego, Physics, 1983
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, deparmental honors in Physics, 1981

Research Interests

My research focuses on making in situ measurements of the plasma environment of the Earth's magnetosphere. Within the magnetosphere, my primary research interest is auroral physics and magnetosphere-ionsphere coupling processes. Much of my work has concentrated on measurements of the electrons and ions in this region. These measurements are made both by satellites and small, sub-orbital rockets known as sounding rockets. Several of these sounding rocket flights have been over active aurora - a phenomena which is one of my strongest research interests. I am quite interested in understanding interactions between waves and particles to understand how energy exchanged between electric and magnetic fields and the kinetic energy of particles. To further this understanding I want to develop new techniques for measuring wave-particle correlations. These interactions can occur an MHz frequencies so this is a challenging experimental problem, but one for which there are several possiblilities for improving on current instrumentation. We had a rocket flight that will fly in the Winter of 2002 that investigated these wave-particle correlations and we are currently analyzing the data from the flight. We flew another rocket in the Winter of 2003 to investigate particles and waves above the Langmuir frequency. We will fly another wave-particle correlator on the CHARM rocket in the Winter of 2007.

Extending outward from the auroral zone, we have electron and ion data from the Hydra instrument on the Polar satellite which was just launched in February of 1996. By analyzing the particle data from these missions (along with electric and magnetic field data taken at the same time) we can infer characteristics of the processes that create the aurora. I have been examining particle data for times when the Polar satellite is at high altitude in the northern auroral zone. The satellite is at sufficiently high altitude that one can be certain that it is above the region in which auroral electrons are accelerated. This allows us to probe the source populations for the aurora with good resolution. Currently, I am working on correlations studies to determine which (if any) solar wind parameters are correlated with the characteristic energy and density of the auroral source population.

I am also involved in an exciting new technique to measure electric fields in space using electron beams. An experiment using this technique was flown on a German-Swedish satellite called Freja which was launched in October of 1992 from China. The focus of this mission was also auroral physics and we were able to demonstrate that this new technique works quite well. In particular the technique allows a full vector determination of the electic field perpendicular to the background magnetic field. This is not always possible with other techniques and thus this new method provides a complement to existing techniques. Now that the method is validated we are concentrating our efforts on using this data to better understand auroral electrodynamics.

Another implementation of this technique that will flown on the Equator-S satellite to be flown in the next year. Originally this experiment was to be flown on the four Cluster spacecraft. Unfortunately these spacecraft were destroyed when their launch vehicle (the Ariane 5) exploded shortly after launch. Happily, both NASA and the European Space Agency decided to rebuild all four spacecraft (called Cluster-II) and they were successfully launched in the summer of 2000. This version is substantially more complicated than the Freja version, but promises to allow determination of the electric field in regions in which other techniques fail.

Selected Publications

Alfven Waves  and Acceleration of Electrons

  • Chen, L., C. A. Kletzing, S. Hu, and S. R. Bounds, Auroral electron dispersion below inverted-V energies: Resonant deceleration and acceleration by Alfven waves, J. Geophys. Res., 110, A10S13, doi:10.1029/2005JA011168, 2005.
  • C. A. Kletzing, S. R. Bounds, J. Martin-Hiner, W. Gekelman, and C. Mitchell, Measurements of the shear Alfven wave dispersion for finite perpendicular wave number, Phys. Rev. Lett, 10.1103/PhysRevLet.90.0350004, 2003.
  • C. A. Kletzing and S. Hu, Alfven Wave Generated Electron Time Dispersion, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 693, 2001.
  • K. Stasiewicz, P. Bellan, C. Chaston, C. Kletzing, R. Lysak, J. Maggs, O.  Pokhotelov, C. Seyler, P. Shukla, L. Stenflo, A. Streltsov, and J.M--E. Wahlund, Small Scale Alfvenic Structures, Space Sci. Rev., 92, 423, 2000.
  • Kletzing, C. A., Electron Acceleration by Shear Alfven Waves in a Cylindrical Geometry, poster presentation to IPELS '97 conference, July, 1997.
  • Kletzing, C. A., Sharp Boundaries and Dispersion of Inertial Alfven Waves, EOS suppl., 78, S269, 1997.
  • Kletzing, C. A., Electron Acceleration by Kinetic Alfven Waves, J. Geophys. Res., 99 , 11095, 1994.

Electron Beam Electric Field Measurements

  • G. Paschmann, N. Sckopke, H. Vaith, J. M. Quinn, O. H. Bauer, W. Baumjohann, W. Fillius, G. Haerendel, S. S. Kerr, C. A. Kletzing, K. Lynch, C. E. McIlwain, R. B. Torbert, E. C. Whipple, EDI gyro time measurements on Equator-S, Annales Geophysicae, 17, 1513, 1999.
  • Kletzing, C. A., G. Paschmann, and M. Boehm, Electric Field Measurements Using the Electron Beam Technique at Low Altitudes, in Measurement Techniques in Space Plasmas, AGU Monograph Series, 103. 53, 1998
  • Kletzing, C. A., G. Paschmann, M. H. Boehm, G. Haerendel, N. Sckopke, W. Baumjohann, R. B. Torbert, G. Marklund and P.-A. Lindqvist, Electric fields derived from electron drift measurements, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, 1863, 1994.

Plasma Sheet Physics from Polar

  • C. A. Kletzing, J. D. Scudder, E. E. Dors, and C. Curto, The auroral source region: plasma properties of the high altitude plasma sheet, J. Geophys. Res.,
    J. Geophys. Res., 108, 1360, doi:10.1029/2002JA009678,
  • J. R.Wygant, A. Keiling, C. Cattell, R. L. Lysak, M.Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. T. Russell, and C. A. Kletzing, Correlation of Alfven wave Poynting flux in the
    plasma sheet at 4-7 RE with ionospheric electron energy flux, J. Geophys. Res., 107, 2002.
  • A. Keiling, J. R. Wygant, C. Cattell, M.Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. A. Kletzing, J. Scudder, C. T. Russell, Properties of large electric fields in the plasma sheet at 4M--7 RE measured with Polar, Geophys. Res., in press, 2001.
  • A. Keiling, J. R. Wygant, C. Cattell, M.Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. A. Kletzing, J. Scudder, C. T. Russell, W. Lotko, and A. Streltsov, Large Alfven wave power in the plasma sheet boundary layer during the expansion phase of substorms , Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 3169, 2000.
  • J. R. Wygant, A. Keiling, C. A. Cattell, M. Johnson, R. L. Lysak, M. Temerin, F. S. Mozer, C. A. Kletzing, W. Peterson, C. T. Russell, G. Parks, M. Brittnacher, Polar Spacecraft Based Comparisons of Intense Electric Fields and Poynting Flux Near and Within the Plasma sheet - Tail Lobe Boundary to UVI Images: An Energy Source for the Aurora, J. Geophys. Res., 8, 18675, 2000.
  • Kletzing, C. A., and J. D. Scudder, Auroral-Plasma Sheet Electron Anisotropy, Geophys. Res. Lett,, 26, 971, 1999.
  • Cattell, C. A., J. Dombeck, J. R. Wygant, M. K. Hudson, F. S. Mozer, M. A. Termerin, W. K. Peterson, C. A. Kletzing, C. T. Russell, and R. F. Pfaff, Comparisons of Polar satellite observations of solitary wave velocities in the plasma sheet boundary and the high altitude cusp to those in the auroral zone, Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 425, 1999.

Other Polar Science

  • Toivanen, P. K. , Baker, D. N. , Peterson, W. K. , Singer, H. J. , Turner, N. E. , Li, X. ; Kauristie, K. , Syrjasuo, M. ,Viljanen, A. , Pulkkinen, T. I. , Keiling, A. , Wygant, J. R. , Kletzing, C. A. 2001Reconciliation of the substorm onset determined on the ground and at the Polar spacecraft Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 107, 2001

Auroral Physics

  • Kletzing, C. A. and L. Muschietti, Phase correlation waves, in ”Geospace Radiation and Plasma Waves”, J. LaBelle and R. A. Treumann, eds., Springer-Verlag, 2006.
  • C. A. Kletzing, S. R. Bounds, J. LaBelle, and M. Samara, Observation of the reactive component of Langmuir wave phase-bunched electrons, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L05106, doi:10.1029/2004GL021175, 2005.
  • M. Samara, J. LaBelle, C. A. Kletzing, S. R. Bounds, Rocket observations of structured upper hybid waves at fuh = 2fce, Geophys. Res. Lett.,31, doi: 10.1029/2004GL021043, 2004.
  • D.Schriver, M. Ashour-Abdalla,R. J. Strangeway,R. L.Richard, C. Kletzing, Y. Dotan, J. Wygant, FAST/Polar conjunction study of field-aligned auroral
    acceleration and corresponding magnetotail drivers, J. Geophys. Res.,108, 8020, 10.1029/2002JA009426, 2003
  • Dors, Eric E., and C.A. Kletzing, Effects of Suprathermal Tails on Auroral Electrodynamics, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 6783, 1999..
  • Kletzing, C. A., F. S. Mozer, R. B. Torbert, Electron Temperature and Density at High Latitude, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 14837, 1998
  • Mozer, F. S. and C. A. Kletzing, Direct observation of large, quasi-static, parallel electric fields in the auroral acceleration region, Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 1629, 1998.
  • Kletzing, C. A., G. Berg, M. C. Kelley, F. Primdahl, and R. B. Torbert, The electrical and precipitation characteristics of morning sector S un-aligned auroral arcs, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 17175, 1996
  • G. A. Berg, M. C. Kelley, M. Mendillo, R. Doe, J. Vickrey, C. Kletzing, F. Primdahl, and K. B. Baker, Formation and eruption of Sun-aligned arcs at the polar cap-auroral oval boundary, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 17577, 1994.
  • C. A. Kletzing and R. B. Torbert, Electron Time Dispersion, J. Geophys. Res., 99 , 2159, 1994 .


  • J. C. Williamson, R. O. Torres-Isea, and C. A. Kletzing, Analyzing Linear and Angular Momentum Conservation in Digital Movies of Puck Collisions, Am. J. Phys., 68, 841, 2000.