Impacts of Binning Methods on High-Latitude Electrodynamic Forcing: Static Versus Boundary-Oriented Binning Methods


An outstanding issue in the general circulation model simulations for Earth\textquoterights upper atmosphere is the inaccurate estimation of Joule heating, which could be associated with the inaccuracy of empirical models for high-latitude electrodynamic forcing. The binning methods used to develop those empirical models may contribute to the inaccuracy. Traditionally, data are binned through a static binning approach by using fixed geomagnetic coordinates, in which the dynamic nature of the forcing is not considered and therefore the forcing patterns may be significantly smeared. To avoid the smoothing issue, data can be binned according to some physically important boundaries in the high-latitude forcing, that is, through a boundary-oriented binning approach. In this study, we have investigated the sensitivity of high-latitude forcing patterns to the binning methods by applying both static and boundary-oriented binning approaches to the electron precipitation and electric potential data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellites. For this initial study, we have focused on the moderately strong and dominantly southward interplanetary magnetic field conditions. As compared with the static binning results, the boundary-oriented binning approach can provide a more confined and intense electron precipitation pattern. In addition, the magnitudes of the electric potential and electric field in the boundary-oriented binning results increase near the convection reversal boundary, leading to a ~11\% enhancement of the cross polar cap potential. The forcing patterns obtained from both binning approaches are used to drive the Global Ionosphere and Thermosphere Model to assess the impacts on Joule heating by using different binning patterns. It is found that the hemispheric-integrated Joule heating in the simulation driven by the boundary-oriented binning patterns is 18\% higher than that driven by the static binning patterns.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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