James Clemmons

Office: Earth, Oceans & Space, Morse Hall, Durham, NH 03824
A headshot of James Clemmons, a professor in the Space Science Center.

James Clemmons works in the field of space physics. His interests include auroral phenomena, physics of the Earth's ionosphere-thermosphere system, and the magnetosphere. Primary methods of inquiry are space experiments and instrumentation, as well as analysis of data. He serves as a Co-Investigator on NASA's Van Allen Probes and Magnetospheric Multiscale missions. Recent sounding rocket experiments include the Auroral Jet and RENU-2 missions, and current projects include the VISIONS-2, TOMEX-Plus, and Dynamo-2 sounding rocket missions, the LLITED cubesat mission, analysis of data from the TWINS-ES experiment, and modeling of the atmospheric mass density anomaly beneath the earth's magnetospheric cusp.


  • Ph.D., Space Physics, University of California - Berkeley
  • M.A., Physics, University of California - Berkeley
  • B.S., Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S., Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests

  • Aeronomy
  • Atmosphere: Composition & Disturbance
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Atmospheric Remote Sensing
  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Atmospheric Structure and Dynamics
  • Geophysics
  • Geosciences
  • Instrumentation, Techniques (Physical Sciences)
  • Ionospheres
  • Ionospheric Phenomena
  • Ionospheric Physics
  • Magnetohydrodynamics
  • Magnetospheric Phenomena
  • Physical Sciences
  • Physics
  • Plasma Physics
  • Space Sciences
  • Space Weather
  • Spacecraft
  • Turbulence

Courses Taught

  • PHYS 407: General Physics I Recitation
  • PHYS 407S: General Physics I Studio
  • PHYS 408: General Physics II Recitation

Selected Publications

Hecht, J. H., Clemmons, J. H., Lessard, M. R., Kenward, D. L., Sadler, F. B., Fritz, B. A., . . . Lynch, K. A. (2020). A New Technique for Estimating the Lifetime of Bursts of Electron Precipitation From Sounding Rocket Measurements. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(18). doi:10.1029/2019gl082894

Pfaff, R., Larsen, M., Abe, T., Habu, H., Clemmons, J., Freudenreich, H., . . . Angelopoulos, V. (2020). Daytime Dynamo Electrodynamics With Spiral Currents Driven by Strong Winds Revealed by Vapor Trails and Sounding Rocket Probes. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(15). doi:10.1029/2020gl088803

Claudepierre, S. G., O'Brien, T. P., Looper, M. D., Blake, J. B., Fennell, J. F., Roeder, J. L., . . . Spence, H. E. (2019). A Revised Look at Relativistic Electrons in the Earth's Inner Radiation Zone and Slot Region. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124(2), 934-951. doi:10.1029/2018ja026349

Turner, D. L., Wilson, L. B., Liu, T. Z., Cohen, I. J., Schwartz, S. J., Osmane, A., . . . Burch, J. L. (2018). Autogenous and efficient acceleration of energetic ions upstream of Earth’s bow shock. Nature, 561(7722), 206-210. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0472-9

Hecht, J. H., Clemmons, J. H., Conde, M. G., Hampton, D. L., Michell, R. G., Rowland, D. E., . . . Walterscheid, R. L. (2018). Observations of Spatial Variations in O/N2
During an Auroral Substorm Using the Multichannel Downlooking Camera on the VISIONS Rocket. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 123(8), 7089-7105. doi:10.1029/2018ja025288

Burch, J. L., Torbert, R. B., Phan, T. D., Chen, L. -J., Moore, T. E., Ergun, R. E., . . . Chandler, M. (2016). Electron-scale measurements of magnetic reconnection in space. Science, 352(6290), aaf2939. doi:10.1126/science.aaf2939

Blake, J. B., Carranza, P. A., Claudepierre, S. G., Clemmons, J. H., Crain, W. R., Dotan, Y., . . . Zakrzewski, M. P. (2013). The Magnetic Electron Ion Spectrometer (MagEIS) Instruments Aboard the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) Spacecraft. Space Science Reviews, 179(1-4), 383-421. doi:10.1007/s11214-013-9991-8

Spence, H. E., Reeves, G. D., Baker, D. N., Blake, J. B., Bolton, M., Bourdarie, S., . . . Thorne, R. M. (2013). Science Goals and Overview of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma (ECT) Suite on NASA’s Van Allen Probes Mission. Space Science Reviews, 179(1-4), 311-336. doi:10.1007/s11214-013-0007-5

Marklund, G., Karlsson, T., & Clemmons, J. (1997). On low-altitude particle acceleration and intense electric fields and their relationship to black aurora. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 102(A8), 17509-17522. doi:10.1029/97ja00334

Boehm, M. H., Carlson, C. W., McFadden, J. P., Clemmons, J. H., & Mozer, F. S. (n.d.). High-resolution sounding rocket observations of large-amplitude Alfvén waves. Journal of Geophysical Research, 95(A8), 12157. doi:10.1029/ja095ia08p12157

Most Cited Publications