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Dr John Coxon

Research Fellow

Department: Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

I am an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow at Northumbria University.

My primary scientific expertise is in Birkeland currents, which play a key role in space weather effects on Earth. They are electrical currents which flow between the boundaries of the Earth's magnetic field and the Earth's atmosphere. When the Sun's activity affects the Earth, it is Birkeland currents that relay the effects to the ground, where the impacts can be felt on ground-based infrastructure.

Prior to joining Northumbria University in 2022, I was at the University of Southampton from 2015–2022, during which time I worked on Birkeland currents as well as working on substorms and Northward IMF dynamics. I obtained my PhD and first-class MPhys at the University of Leicester between 2007–2015.

In my other endeavours, I have extensive public engagement experience as PI of the Southampton Planeterrella. I was Chair of MIST Council in 2019–21, and I am on the STFC PEER Forum review panel.

John Coxon

My primary scientific expertise is in Birkeland currents. I am internationally recognised for my research into Birkeland currents with the AMPERE dataset, having contributed a review chapter to an AGU monograph and been invited to speak on the topic internationally, including at the AGU Fall Meeting 2019. Perhaps most notably, I discovered the interhemispheric asymmetry in Birkeland currents in my 2016 paper.

Alongside this, I have expertise in Cluster data. I used this dataset to examine the energy budgets of substorms and showed that during substorms, magnetic energy was stored and released sooner when the spacecraft was closer to Earth, consistent with the "inside out" substorm model. I also used Cluster data to survey hot plasma in the magnetotail lobes, statistically addressing open questions about this plasma for the first time. I have coauthored papers on both topics, alongside papers using MMS data to examine flux transfer events.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • A review of Birkeland current research using AMPERE, Coxon, J., Milan, S., Anderson, B. 17 Apr 2018, Electric Currents in Geospace and Beyond, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley
  • Distributions of Birkeland current density observed by AMPERE are heavy-tailed or long-tailed, Coxon, J., Chisham, G., Freeman, M., Anderson, B., Fear, R. 1 Feb 2022, In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
  • Timescales of Birkeland Currents Driven by the IMF, Coxon, J., Shore, R., Freeman, M., Fear, R., Browett, S., Smith, A., Whiter, D., Anderson, B. 28 Jul 2019, In: Geophysical Research Letters
  • Seasonal and diurnal variations in AMPERE observations of the Birkeland currents compared to modeled results, Coxon, J., Milan, S., Carter, J., Clausen, L., Anderson, B., Korth, H. May 2016, In: Journal of Geophysical Research A: Space Physics
  • Hot plasma in the magnetotail lobes shows characteristics consistent with closed field lines trapped in the lobes, Coxon, J., Fear, R., Reidy, J., Fryer, L., Plank, J. Sep 2021, In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

  • Physics PhD July 15 2015
  • Astrophysics MSc July 14 2011


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