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Title: Energy Deposition by Mesoscale High‐Latitude Electric Fields Into the Thermosphere During the 26 October 2019 Geomagnetic Storm

Mesoscale high‐latitude electric fields are known to deposit energy into the ionospheric and thermospheric system, yet the energy deposition process is not fully understood. We conduct a case study to quantify the energy deposition from mesoscale high‐latitude electric fields to the thermosphere. For the investigation, we obtain the high‐latitude electric field with mesoscale variabilities from Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar measurements during a moderate geomagnetic storm, providing the driver for the Global Ionosphere and Thermosphere Model (GITM) via the High‐latitude Input for Mesoscale Electrodynamics framework. The HIME‐GITM simulation is compared with GITM simulations driven by the large‐scale electric field from the Weimer model. Our modeling results indicate that the mesoscale electric field modifies the thermospheric energy budget primarily through enhancing the Joule heating. Specifically, in the local high‐latitude region of interest, the mesoscale electric field enhances the Joule heating by up to five times. The resulting neutral temperature enhancement can reach up to 50 K above 200 km altitude. Significant increase in the neutral density above 250 km altitude and in the neutral wind speed are found in the local region as well, lagging a few minutes after the Joule heating enhancement. We demonstrate that the energy deposited by the mesoscale electric field transfers primarily to the gravitational potential energy in the thermosphere.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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