Spatial Evolution of Energetic Electrons Affecting the Upper Atmosphere during the Last Two Solar Cycles

Alexei V. Dmitriev, Alla V. Suvorova, Sayantan Ghosh, Gennady V. Golubkov, Maxim G. Golubkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Future commercial, scientific, and other satellite missions require low-Earth-orbit (LEO) altitudes of 300–400 km for long-term successful space operations. The Earth’s radiation belt (ERB) is an inevitable obstacle for manned and other space missions. Precipitation of >30 keV energetic electrons from the ERB is one of the sources of ionization in LEO, space vehicles, in the ionosphere, and in the upper atmosphere. We show, in this work, that the area of electron precipitation from the outer ERB shifts equator-wards to Siberia. We further show a substantive decrease in the intensity of energetic electrons in the area of the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) from the 23rd to the 24th solar cycles. These results can be attributed to, and explained by, variations in geomagnetic activity, with a noticeable change in the configuration of the Earth’s magnetic field during the 24th solar cycle. The diminishing SAA area and electron fluxes should allow elevation of the International Space Station to higher altitudes, thereby making these altitudes accessible to relevant space missions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number322
JournalAtmosphere
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Earth’s radiation belt
  • Ionosphere
  • Solar cycle

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