Impact of Soft Electron Precipitation on the Thermospheric Neutral Mass Density During Geomagnetic Storms: GITM Simulations
In this study, the impact of improving soft (0.1–1 keV) electron precipitation on the F-region neutral mass density has been evaluated using the Global Ionosphere Thermosphere Model (GITM). Two types of electron energy spectra having the same total energy flux and average energy but different spectral shapes have been used to specify the electron precipitation in GITM. One is the Maxwellian spectrum and the other is from an empirical model, Auroral Spectrum and High-Latitude Electric field variabilitY (ASHLEY), which provides stronger (up to 2–3 orders of magnitude) soft electron precipitations than the Maxwellian spectrum. Data-model comparisons indicate that the storm-time orbital averaged neutral density can be increased by 10\%–40\% and is more consistent with the observation if the non-Maxwellian ASHLEY spectrum is used. This study reveals the importance of accurate soft electron precipitation specifications in the whole auroral zone to improving the F-region neutral mass density estimations.
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Geophysical Research Letters
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