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Simulations of the equatorial thermosphere anomaly: Geomagnetic activity modulation

AuthorLei, Jiuhou; Wang, Wenbin; Thayer, Jeffrey; Luan, Xiaoli; Dou, Xiankang; Burns, Alan; Solomon, Stanley;
Keywordsequatorial thermosphere anomaly; geomagnetic activity; ion-neutral coupling; positive ionospheric storm

The modulation of geomagnetic activity on the equatorial thermosphere anomaly (ETA) in thermospheric temperature under the high solar activity condition is investigated using the Thermosphere Ionosphere Electrodynamics General Circulation Model simulations. The model simulations during the geomagnetically disturbed interval, when the north-south component of the interplanetary magnetic field (Bz) oscillates between southward and northward directions, are analyzed and also compared with those under the quiet time condition. Our results show that ionospheric electron densities increase greatly in the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crest region and decrease around the magnetic equator during the storm time, resulting from the enhanced eastward electric fields. The impact of both the direct heat deposition at high latitudes and the modulation of the storm time enhanced EIA crests on the ETA are subsequently studied. The increased plasma densities over the EIA crest region enhance the field-aligned ion drag that accelerates the poleward meridional winds and consequently their associated adiabatic cooling effect. This process alone produces a deeper temperature trough over the magnetic equator as a result of the enhanced divergence of meridional winds. Moreover, the enhanced plasma-neutral collisional heating at higher latitudes associated with the ionospheric positive storm effect causes a weak increase of the ETA crests. On the other hand, strong changes of the neutral temperature are mainly confined to higher latitudes. Nevertheless, the changes of the ETA purely due to the increased plasma density are overwhelmed by those associated with the storm time heat deposition, which is the major cause of an overall elevated temperature in both the ETA crests and trough during the geomagnetically active period. Associated with the enhanced neutral temperature at high latitudes due to the heat deposition, the ETA crest-trough differences become larger under the minor geomagnetic activity condition than under the quiet time condition. However, when geomagnetic activity is further elevated, the ETA crests tend to be masked by high temperatures at middle and high latitudes.

Year of Publication2014
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Number of Pages6821-6832
Date Published08/2014