What is the Girgea?
Geophysical Research Group Europe Africa
GIRGEA aims to develop space physics in developing countries as part of the United Nations for Basic Space Science Initiative. Currently the main research theme is Space Meteorology.

International Year of the Equatorial Electrojet
International Geophysical Research Group Europe Africa


A. The Milestones

September 1990 :
Establishment of the IAEA National Committee
Search for credits

July 1991 :
Exploratory mission to Abidjan
September 1991 :
CAMPUS operation request: 1 MF obtained

1st half 1992
Construction of the Z component
Buying the Ion Probe
2nd semester 1992 :
Installation of the ionoprobe in Korhogo
Installation of the Telluric magneto-chain
6 weeks training in France for 5 students from Ivory Coast
Field Experience

Organization of the session 7.1 ICDC (Interdivisional Commission for
Developing Countries) of IAGA (International Association for Geomagnetism and Aeronomy) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
First article about the project published in a Brazilian magazine
Field experience
Year 1994 :
UCL Interferometer measurements begin
End of the IAEA field experiment

Creation of GIRGEA
School of Geophysics in Abidjan
Credit (2MF) for LETTI radar
IAGA resolution to encourage studies
Organization of ICDC Session 7.1 at IAGA Boulder Session

Installation of a magnetic station (ORSTOM)
Data processing and analysis
SCIPION -> (350 KF for Senegal from the Ministry of Cooperation, Telecommunications Department), measurement campaign in Dakar
IAEE International Database Catalogue (3 sectors of longitude)

Thesis by J-F. Cécile, April 21, 1997 in Toulon (France)
Award of excellence presented to the GIRGEA team in Abidjan in August 1997
Ivorian Physics Days from 3 to 5 December 1997
Thesis by O. Obrou, University of Abidjan, 11 December 1997
Organization of IAGA Session 7.1, Uppsala, Sweden by A. Onwumechili (Nigeria) and C. Amory-Mazaudier (GIRGEA France)

Articles in a special issue of Annales Geophysicae
Installation of a network of 3 magnetometers to accompany the OERSTED satellite
Thesis work (7 theses in progress)


LETTI radar sent to Korhogo
M’s 3rd cycle thesis. Sow November 13
Thomas Farges Thesis (Awards)?
Launch of the OERSTED satellite
Installation of SCIPION radar
Organization session 7.1 of IAGA in Birmimgham by Mr Barreto (Brazil) and V. Doumouya (GIRGEA Côte d’Ivoire)
Participation in the workshop of the EPIC project (Equatorial Processes Including Coupling) of A. Kobéa (GIRGEA Côte d’Ivoire).

Research work

State Thesis by A. Kobéa Toka, March 31

Special issue preparation JASTP
Theses to pass
Étienne Houngninou -> State thesis
Kouadio Boka -> University thesis
Two GIRGEA : GIRGE- Africa -> GIRGE- Asia

Vietnam joins GIRGEA
France-Vietnam cooperation project from 2006 to 2008,

GIRGEA prepares and participates in the IHY (International Heliophysical Year) project in AfricaIn 2009: Congo Brazzaville joins GIRGEAEcole in Brazzaville on GPS and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from 2 to 11 December 2009


GIRGEA participates in the ISWI project: International Space Weather Initiative and multiplies schools

School in Helwan/ Egypt 2010
École de Météorologie de l’Espace from September 19 to October 3

School in Rabat / Morocco in 2011
Space Weather School from December 5 to 16

School in Kinshasa/DRC in 2011
Space Weather School from September 11 to 24

School in Algiers in 2013
Space Weather School from May 6 to 16

School in Marrakech / Morocco in 2014
Space Weather School from 5 to 10

School in Rabat / Morocco in 2015
École de Météorologie de l’Espace from February 16 to 21

School in Abidjan/ Ivory Coast 2017
Space Weather School from October 16 to 28

Other schools more particularly dedicated to GNSS have been organized at the Ecole Mines télécoms ( 2012,2013,2014,2015,206,2017) and also in Rabat in the United Nations regional school (2017).

B. Brief History

1. International Framework

It was at the Vancouver meeting of the International Association for
Geomagnetism and Aeronomy), in 1987, that the IDC (InterDivisional Commission for Developing Countries) proposed to the international scientific community to intensify the study of the equatorial electrojet in the framework of an international project: IEEY (International Equatorial Electrojet Year), AIEE (International Year of the Equatorial Electrojet).
A large number of scientific teams have expressed their intention to participate in the IAEE, depending on their interests, either through measurement campaigns or through an increased effort to model and analyse the equatorial electrojet. This IAEE project will be coordinated by an international scientific committee which will also ensure the link with the other international programmes WITS (World Ionosphere Thermosphere Study), LTCS (Lower Thermospheric Coupling Study) and STEP (Solar Terrestrial Energy Program).
For the International Year of the Equatorial Electrojet, intensive measurement campaigns in the equatorial zone were conducted for more than 2 years, from November 1992 to December 1994.
Various documents were drafted to present the scientific objectives and activities to be developed at the global level (IAGA News 28, March, 1990), then in the three sectors of longitude under which this project was structured.
sector India : Working document on the indian contribution to the International Equatorial Electrojet Year;
Africa Europe sector: French proposal to participate in the International Year of Equatorial Electro Project (Document CN/AIEE/1, December 1989 and document from Nigeria 1991);
Americas sector: Brazilian participation in the International Equatorial Electrojet Year (1991).

2. Scientific objectives, applications and training posted

The geophysical community had committed itself to focusing on 5 major themes:
Study of the electrojet as part of a global solar wind/magnetic/ionosphere/ atmosphere/ earth electrical circuit ,
Study of terrestrial currents and conductivities on a regional scale ,
Regional-scale ionospheric prediction and modeling of the electrojet,
Study of local instabilities of equatorial ionospheric plasma,
Propagation of radio waves.
The geophysical community must develop practical applications related to this project that affect different sectors:
improvement of radio communications between about 2 and 40 MHz,
remote sensing: ionospheric corrections for data processing,
knowledge of subsurface conductivities (magnetotelluric soundings),
database / information system applied to environmental sciences.
IAEA offered a remarkable opportunity for collaboration with developing countries.
The scientists involved in the French project supervised students and trained technicians to ensure the start-up, operation and maintenance of the instruments implanted in Africa. Students were involved in data acquisition during the results exploitation phase. Seven theses were supported in this research group from 1995 to 2001.

3. Activities during the years 1992 to 2001

3.1 Measurement campaigns :

Continuous measurements of variations in the Earth’s magnetic field (ORSTOM magnetometer array, J. Vassal and M. Dukhan) and ionosphere parameters (CNET/PAB/PTI ionoprobe array, J. Henry, R. Hanbaba) were made. These measures were continued until the end of 1994.

The CEA/LDG ( E. Blanc, T. Bourret, E. Houngninou, A. Lavedrine, B. Tissot, D. Raoux) organised ionospheric parameter measurement campaigns at the Korhogo site from March to July 1993 and during October and November 1994.

The IPGP (Y. Cohen) has been providing continuous measurements of variations in the Earth’s magnetic field with an array of three magnetic stations since 1998.

UCL (D. Rees) set up an interferometer at the Korhogo site which took measurements from November 1994 to May 1995. This instrument is currently being upgraded.

3.2 Geophysical Schools in the 1992-1995 Project :

Two geophysics training schools were held in Paris in April and May 1992 in Abidjan in October 1995.

4. Database – international scientific animation :

A database has been developed. The organization of the database, the list of participants and the catalogue of data for the 3 sectors of longitude Africa-Europe, Americas, Asia was published in 1996 (Amory-Mazaudier et al., 1996).

In the Africa-Europe sector, the organisation set up, as well as the newsletter (C. Amory-Mazaudier, J. Bouvet, P. Vila) distributed every 2 months, then every quarter, stimulated all participants. This newsletter has been sent regularly since May 1992.

At the international level, the French group (A. G. Onwumechili and C. Amory-Mazaudier) organized IAGA session 7.1 devoted to the International Year of the Equatorial Electrojet project in 1993 in Buenos Aires (Argentina), 1995 in Boulder (USA) and 1997 in Uppsala (Sweden).

5. Creation of observatories in West Africa

Within the framework of the AIEE project, measuring instruments have been financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the CNET (Centre National d’Etude des Télécommunications), UCL (University College of London) and the CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales). These instruments have enabled the creation of observatories in Korhogo in Côte d’Ivoire and Dakar in Senegal to study the magnetic field at the equator, the ionosphere and the equatorial atmosphere. These observatories will make it possible to anchor geophysics in Africa in a sustainable way.

6. Conclusion

Our network which at the beginning was essentially between Europe and Africa has become global thanks to international projects such as IHY (International Heliophysical Year 2005-2009) and ISWI (International Space Weather Initiative 2010-2012). From now on the ISWI network (http://www.iswi-secretariat.org) is sustainable and GIRGEA is part of it.
The methods used are those of sharing:
Donations of instruments in countries where they are lacking
Training schools in the countries
Thesis supervision
Positions for students in their countries
Development of new university curricula in the countries of students who have become doctors.