Significant Variations of Thermospheric Nitric Oxide Cooling during the Minor Geomagnetic Storm on 6 May 2015
Using observations by the SABER (Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry) instrument on board the TIMED (Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) satellite and simulations by the TIEGCM (Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model), we investigate the daytime variations of thermospheric nitric oxide (NO) cooling during the geomagnetic storm on 6 May 2015. The geomagnetic storm was minor, as the minimum Dst was −28 nT, the maximum Kp was 5+ and the maximum AE was 1259 nT. However, significant enhancements of peak NO cooling rate and prominent decreases in the peak NO cooling altitude were observed from high latitudes to low latitudes in both hemispheres on the dayside by the SABER instrument. The model simulations underestimate the response of peak NO cooling and have no significant variation of the altitude of peak NO cooling rate on the dayside during this minor geomagnetic storm. By investigating the temporal and latitudinal variations of vertical NO cooling profiles inferred from SABER data, we suggest that the horizontal equatorward winds caused by the minor geomagnetic storm were unexpectedly strong and thus play an important role in inducing these significant daytime NO cooling variations.
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