Eleri Pryse BSc, PhD (Wales)


Director of Welsh Language and Culture (IMPACS)

Director of Student and Staff Experience (IMPACS)

Contact Details

Room Number..........:  3.18
Building....................:  Physical Sciences
Phone.......................:   +44 (0)1970 622801
E-Mail........................:   sep


Educated in Aberystwyth and a former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig, Dr. Pryse graduated with a first-class degree in Physics from the University of Wales, going on to obtain her PhD in Ionospheric Physics for an investigation of small-scale irregularities in the ionosphere using radio signals from satellites. She was appointed a physics lecturer at Aberystwyth in 1989. She pioneered the application of tomographic methods for imaging the ionised atmosphere, and has used the technique extensively at polar and auroral regions to study signatures of space weather and fundamental plasma processes in the high-latitude atmosphere. She is married with a family, and has an interest in music.

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Ionised Atmospher:

    My research has focused on the ionised atmosphere. Early studies used radio-wave scintillation to investigate small-scale plasma irregularities in the auroral and sub-auroral regions. More recently I have been concerned with the application of tomography to image the ionosphere, and its development from a theoretical idea to an experimental method for ionospheric investigations. The technique makes use of radio signals from satellites and yields images of the spatial distribution of plasma over a height- versus-latitude section of the ionised atmosphere. Verification of the technique relied on the EISCAT incoherent scatter radar facility. Comparisons of tomographic images with simultaneous radar measurements confirmed the potential of the ionospheric imaging technique and enabled the development of reconstruction algorithms suitable for ionospheric purposes. The method has now reached a state of maturity, and is used to study the ionised atmosphere, and for mapping ionospheric structure of interest to radio propagation applications.

    A tomography receiver-chain is deployed by the Solar System Physics group of Aberystwyth University, for routine imaging of the high-latitude atmosphere with receivers at Ny Ålesund, Longyearbyen, Bjørnøya and Tromsø. This is suitably located to image the ionosphere over an extended latitudinal range spanning from the auroral zone into the polar cap. It can observe ionospheric footprints of space weather processes, and effects of magnetopause reconnection, auroral precipitation and plasma convection in the high-latitude region. The images complement measurements by a wealth of instrumentation operated by the international scientific community in the auroral and polar regions including the EISCAT/ESR and CUTLASS radars, optical cameras and satellite particle detectors, and also physical and parameterised models of the ionised atmosphere. The tomographic observations are used in collaborative studies with the International Ionospheric Tomography Community (IITC) with tomographic chains at high latitudes in Europe and Alaska.

    In a recent development, my ionospheric interest is being extended to the plasma environments of other planets, with particular interest in observations by the Venus Express (VEX) spacecraft.

Teaching Areas

Modules Taught



Wood, A.G., Pryse, S.E., Grande, M., Whittaker, I.C., Coates, A.J., Husband, K., Baumjohann, W., Zhang, T.L., Mazelle, C., Kallio, E., Fraenz, M., McKenna-Lawlor, S., Wurz, P. 2012. The transterminator ion flow at Venus at solar minimum. Planetary and Space Science 73 (1) pp. 341-346. 10.1016/j.pss.2012.08.006 Cadair


Wood, A.G., Pryse, S.E. 2010. Seasonal influence on polar cap patches in the high-latitude nightside ionosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 115 (A7) A07311 pp. A07311:1-A07311:9. 10.1029/2009JA014985 Cadair


Pryse, S.E., Whittick, E.L., Aylward, A.D., Middleton, H.R., Brown, D.S., Lester, M., Secan, J.A. 2009. Modelling the tongue-of-ionisation using CTIP with SuperDARN electric potential input: verification by radiotomography. Annales Geophysicae 27 pp. 1139-1152. 10.5194/angeo-27-1139-2009 Cadair

Wood, A.G., Pryse, S.E., Moen, J. 2009. Modulation of nightside polar patches by substorm activity. Annales Geophysicae 27 pp. 3923-3932. 10.5194/angeo-27-3923-2009 Cadair

Strangeways, H.J., Kutiev, I., Cander, L.R., Kouris, S., Gherm, V., Marin, D., Morena, B.D.L., Pryse, S.E., Perrone, L., Pietrella, M., Stankov, S., Tomasik, L., Tulunay, E., Tulunay, Y., Zernov, N., Zolesi, B. 2009. Near-Earth space plasma modelling and forecasting. Annals of Geophysics 52 (3-4) pp. 255-271. 10.4401/ag-4579 Cadair


Middleton, H.R., Pryse, S.E., Wood, A.G., Balthazor, R.L. 2008. The role of the tongue-of-ionization in the formation of the poleward wall of the main trough in the European post-midnight sector. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 113 (A2) A02306 10.1029/2007JA012631 Cadair

Wood, A.G., Pryse, S.E., Middleton, H.R., Howells, V.S.C. 2008. Multi-instrument observations of nightside plasma patches under conditions of IMF Bz positive. Annales Geophysicae 26 (8) pp. 2203-2216. 10.5194/angeo-26-2203-2008 Cadair


Whittick, E.L., Pryse, S.E., Middleton, H.R., Lotinga, A.R., Aylward, A.D. 2007. The CTIP Model with SuperDARN electric potential patterns as input: first comparison of modelled ion densities with radio tomography observations. Proceedings 2nd European General Assembly of the International Heliophysical Year. 2nd European General Assembly of the International Heliophysical Year. pp. 45-49. Cadair


Pryse, S., Kersley, L., Malan, D., Bishop, G.J. 2006. Parameterization of the main ionospheric trough in the European sector. Radio Science 41 (5) RS5S14 10.1029/2005RS003364 Cadair


Middleton, H.R., Pryse, S., Kersley, L., Bust, G.S., Fremouw, E.J., Secan, J.A., Denig, W.F. 2005. Evidence for the tongue of ionization under northward interplanetary magnetic field conditions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics 110 (A7) 10.1029/2004JA010800 Cadair

Dewis, K.L., Balthazor, R.L., Middleton, H.R., Pryse, S. 2005. The dayside high-latitude trough under quiet geomagnetic conditions: Radio tomography and the CTIP model. Annales Geophysicae 23 (4) pp. 1199-1206. Other Cadair Other


Pryse, S. 2003. Radio tomography: A new experimental technique. Surveys in Geophysics 24 (1) pp. 1-38. 10.1023/A:1022272607747 Cadair Other


Pryse, S., Smith, A., Kersley, L., Walker, I., Mitchell, C., Smith, R., Moen, J.I. 2000. Multi-instrument probing of the polar ionosphere under steady northward IMF. Annales Geophysicae 18 (1) pp. 90-98. 10.1007/s00585-000-0090-2 Other Cadair