Ionospheric response to solar and magnetospheric protons during January 15–22, 2005: EAGLE whole atmosphere model results

We present an analysis of the ionosphere and thermosphere response to Solar Proton Events (SPE) and magnetospheric proton precipitation in January 2005, which was carried out using the model of the entire atmosphere EAGLE. The ionization rates for the considered period were acquired from the AIMOS (Atmospheric Ionization Module Osnabrück) dataset. For numerical experiments, we applied only the proton-induced ionization rates of that period, while all the other model input parameters, including the electron precipitations, corresponded to the quiet conditions. In January 2005, two major solar proton events with different energy spectra and proton fluxes occurred on January 17 and January 20. Since two geomagnetic storms and several sub-storms took place during the considered period, not only solar protons but also less energetic magnetospheric protons contributed to the calculated ionization rates. Despite the relative transparency of the thermosphere for high-energy protons, an ionospheric response to the SPE and proton precipitation from the magnetotail was obtained in numerical experiments. In the ionospheric E layer, the maximum increase in the electron concentration is localized at high latitudes, and at heights of the ionospheric F2 layer, the positive perturbations were formed in the near-equatorial region. An analysis of the model-derived results showed that changes in the ionospheric F2 layer were caused by a change in the neutral composition of the thermosphere. We found that in the recovery phase after both solar proton events and the enhancement of magnetospheric proton precipitations associated with geomagnetic disturbances, the TEC and electron density in the F region and in topside ionosphere/plasmasphere increase at low- and mid-latitudes due to an enhancement of atomic oxygen concentration. Our results demonstrate an important role of magnetospheric protons in the formation of negative F-region ionospheric storms. According to our results, the topside ionosphere/plasmasphere and bottom-side ionosphere can react to solar and magnetospheric protons both with the same sign of disturbances or in different way. The same statement is true for TEC and foF2 disturbances. Different disturbances of foF2 and TEC at high and low latitudes can be explained by topside electron temperature disturbances.
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Advances in Space Research
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