Theoretical study of the low- and midlatitude ionospheric electron density enhancement during the October 2003 superstorm: Relative importance of the neutral wind and the electric field

C. H. Lin, A. D. Richmond, R. A. Heelis, G. J. Bailey, G. Lu, J. Y. Liu, H. C. Yeh, S. Y. Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations

Abstract

[1] During magnetic storms the ionospheric total electron content (TEC) at low- and midlatitudes often shows great enhancements, which may be associated with mechanisms producing midlatitude storm-enhanced density (SED). The TEC enhancements may result from different ionospheric drivers such as electric fields, neutral winds, and neutral composition effects. To study the importance of the ionospheric drivers in producing the TEC enhancement, we perform numerical simulations for the 29-30 October 2003 superstorm period in the American longitude sector (~ -70°W) using the Sheffield University Plasmasphere Ionosphere Model (SUPIM) with values for the neutral wind, temperature, and composition provided by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Thermosphere Ionosphere General Circulation Model (TIEGCM). Various numerical experiments were run to identify the relative importance of the storm-time ionospheric drivers. For carrying out the storm-time SUPIM simulation, the storm-time upward/poleward E × B drifts are derived from ROCSAT-1 satellite measurements at low and equatorial latitudes and input to SUPIM, while the storm-time neutral wind and composition disturbances are obtained from TIEGCM run. The simulation results presented in this paper, mainly during the evening period, show that the enhanced upward E × B drifts due to storm-time eastward penetration electric field can expand the low-latitude equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) to higher latitudes and produce the TEC enhancement. However, by the effect of penetration electric fields alone, the TEC enhancement is less than by combining the storm-generated equatorward neutral winds and the penetration electric fields. Disturbance neutral composition effects decrease the plasma density at higher latitudes and increase it at low and equatorial latitudes. However, the composition effects do not produce a density increase as large as that produced by the neutral-wind and electric-field effects. Our simulations suggest that the storm-generated equatorward neutral winds play an important role in producing the TEC enhancement at low- and midlatitudes, in addition to the eastward penetration electric field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA12312
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume110
Issue numberA12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005

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