TitleA case study comparing citizen science aurora data with global auroral boundaries derived from satellite imagery and empirical models
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKosar, BC, MacDonald, EA, Case, NA, Zhang, Y, Mitchell, EJ, Viereck, R
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Pagination274 - 282
Date Published10/2018

Aurorasaurus is a citizen science project that offers a new, global data source consisting of ground-based reports of the aurora. For this case study, aurora data collected during the 17–18 March 2015 geomagnetic storm are examined to identify their conjunctions with Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite passes over the high latitude auroral regions. This unique set of aurora data can provide ground-truth validation of existing auroral precipitation models. Particularly, the solar wind driven, Oval Variation, Assessment, Tracking, Intensity, and Online Nowcasting (OVATION) Prime 2013 (OP-13) model and a Kp-dependent model of Zhang-Paxton (Z-P) are utilized for our boundary validation efforts. These two similar models are compared for the first time.

Global equatorward auroral boundaries are derived from the OP-13 model and the DMSP Special Sensor Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager (SSUSI) far ultraviolet (FUV) data using the Z-P model at a fixed flux level of 0.2 erg cm−2 s−1. These boundaries are then compared with citizen science reports as well as with each other. Even though there are some large differences between the global boundaries for a few cases, the average difference is about 1.5° in geomagnetic latitude, with OP-13 being equatorward of Z-P model. When these boundaries are compared with each other as a function of local time, no clear overall trend as a function of local time was observed. It is also found that the ground-based reports are more consistent with the predictions of the OP-13 model.

Short TitleJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics

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