Comparison of the Thermospheric Nitric Oxide Emission Observations and the GITM Simulations: Sensitivity to Solar and Geomagnetic Activities

Cissi Y. Lin, Yue Deng, Karthik Venkataramani, Justin Yonker, Scott M. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

An accurate estimate of the energy budget (heating and cooling) of the ionosphere and thermosphere, especially during space weather events, has been a challenge. The abundance of nitric oxide (NO), a minor species in the thermosphere, is an important component of energy balance here because its production comes from energy sources able to break the strong bond of molecular nitrogen, and infrared emissions from NO play an important role in thermospheric cooling. Recent studies have significantly improved our understanding of NO chemistry and its relationship to energy deposition in the thermospheric photochemical reactions. In this study, the chemical scheme in the Global Ionosphere-Thermosphere Model (GITM) is updated to better predict the lower thermospheric NO responses to solar and geomagnetic activity. We investigate the sensitivity of the 5.3-μm NO emission to F10.7 and Ap indices by comparing the global integrated emission from GITM with an empirical proxy derived from the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry measurements. GITM's total emission agrees well within ±20% of the empirical values. The updated chemistry scheme significantly elevates the level of integrated emission compared to the previous scheme. The inclusion of N2(A)-related production of NO contributes an additional 5–25% to the emission. Localized enhancement of ~70% in column density and a factor of 3 in column emission are simulated at a moderate geomagnetic level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10,239-10,253
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume123
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • energy budget
  • metastate nitrogen
  • nitric oxide
  • thermospheric cooling

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