Middle and low latitudes hemispheric asymmetries in ∑O/N2 and TEC during intense magnetic storms of solar cycle 24

We have investigated the global hemispheric differences in thermospheric ∑O/N2 and its impact on the ionospheric total electron content (TEC) at mid- and low-latitudes. Four intense storms of solar cycle 24 (SC-24) have been considered, three of them occurred in Spring equinox and one in Summer solstice season. It is found that the mid-latitudes region has exhibited a large decrease in ∑O/N2 during all the phases of the storms under consideration, which corresponds well to the observed negative storm effects. This decrease is directly related with the storm intensity. The maximum reduction in the ∑O/N2 is observed for the St. Patrick day storm of 2015 (which was the most intense geomagnetic storm of SC-24), whereas the respective minimum decrease is found for the storm of April 2012. Strong hemispheric asymmetries, in ∑O/N2 variation, have been observed at the mid-latitudes sector, and can be associated with the asymmetric energy input as indicated by polar cap (PC) indices. The high speed solar winds streams (HSSWs) during the recovery phases of March 2013 and 2015 storms have caused a significant reduction in ∑O/N2 at mid-latitudes, which could not be reproduced by the coupled thermosphere-ionosphere-plasmasphere electrodynamics (CTIPe) model. On the other hand the low-latitudes region depicts an enhancement in ∑O/N2 during all the storms except for the early recovery phases. The positive storm effect at low-latitudes agrees well with this ∑O/N2 increase, thus indicating that the composition change is one of the major drivers of TEC enhancement at low-latitudes. The CTIPe model showed discrepancies in reproducing the satellite data for all the considered storms, especially during the recovery phases. Furthermore, the model is failed to replicate the hemispheric asymmetries at low and mid-latitudes during the main and early recovery phases.
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Advances in Space Research
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