Ionosphere-Thermosphere (IT) Response to Solar Wind Forcing During Magnetic Storms


During magnetic storms, there is a strong response in the ionosphere and thermosphere which occurs at polar latitudes. Energy input in the form of Poynting flux and energetic particle precipitation, and energy output in the form of heated ions and neutrals have been detected at different altitudes and all local times. We have analyzed a number of storms, using satellite data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE), and Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission. Poynting flux measured by instruments on four DMSP spacecraft during storms which occurred in 2011-2012 was observed in both hemispheres to peak at both auroral and polar latitudes. By contrast, the measured ion temperatures at DMSP and maxima in neutral density at GOCE and GRACE altitudes maximize in the polar region most frequently with little evidence of Joule heating at auroral latitudes at these spacecraft orbital locations.



Ionosphere, Thermosphere, Solar wind, Ice—Arctic regions, Proton precipitation, Magnetosphere, Ionization

Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Grants LRIR 14 RV11COR and FA9550-14-1-0280; National Science Foundation under Grant NSF Grant AGS-1259508.


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2016 The Authors