skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, May 17 until 8:00 AM ET on Saturday, May 18 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: On an electromagnetic calculation of ionospheric conductance that seems to override the field line integrated conductivity
Abstract

The ionospheric conductance is the major quantity that determines the interaction of the magnetosphere with the ionosphere, where the magnetosphere is the large region of space affected by Earth’s geomagnetic field, and the ionosphere is its electrically conducting inner boundary, lying right on the edge of the atmosphere. Storms and substorms in space dissipate their energy through ionospheric currents, which heat the atmosphere and disrupt satellite orbits. The ionospheric conductance has, heretofore, been estimated using the staticized physics known as electrostatic theory, which finds that it can be computed by integrating the zero-frequency conductivity along the lines of Earth’s geomagnetic field. In this work we test this supposition by deriving an electromagnetic solution for collisional plasma, and applying it to obtain a first-ever fully-electromagnetic calculation of ionospheric conductance. We compare the results to the field line integrated conductivity, and find significant differences on all scales investigated. We find short-wavelength, mode-mixing, and wave-admittance effects that were completely unexpected. When this theoretical result is matched with recent observational findings for the scale of the magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling-interaction, there results a situation where small- to intermediate-scale effects really may contribute to global modeling of the Sun-Earth system.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10498592
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Volume:
14
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2045-2322
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Variations of vertical atmospheric electric field E z have been attributed mainly to meteorological processes. On the other hand, the theory of electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere, between the bottom ionosphere and earth’s surface, predicts two modes, magnetic H (TE) and electric E (TH) modes, where the E-mode has a vertical electric field component, E z . Past attempts to find signatures of ULF (periods from fractions to tens of minutes) disturbances in E z gave contradictory results. Recently, study of ULF disturbances of atmospheric electric field became feasible thanks to project GLOCAEM, which united stations with 1 sec measurements of potential gradient. These data enable us to address the long-standing problem of the coupling between atmospheric electricity and space weather disturbances at ULF time scales. Also, we have reexamined results of earlier balloon-born electric field and ground magnetic field measurements in Antarctica. Transmission of storm sudden commencement (SSC) impulses to lower latitudes was often interpreted as excitation of the electric TH 0 mode, instantly propagating along the ionosphere–ground waveguide. According to this theoretical estimate, even a weak magnetic signature of the E-mode ∼1 nT must be accompanied by a burst of E z well exceeding the atmospheric potential gradient. We have examined simultaneous records of magnetometers and electric field-mills during >50 SSC events in 2007–2019 in search for signatures of E-mode. However, the observed E z disturbance never exceeded background fluctuations ∼10 V/m, much less than expected for the TH 0 mode. We constructed a model of the electromagnetic ULF response to an oscillating magnetospheric field-aligned current incident onto the realistic ionosphere and atmosphere. The model is based on numerical solution of the full-wave equations in the atmospheric-ionospheric collisional plasma, using parameters that were reconstructed using the IRI model. We have calculated the vertical and horizontal distributions of magnetic and electric fields of both H- and E-modes excited by magnetospheric field-aligned currents. The model predicts that the excitation rate of the E-mode by magnetospheric disturbances is low, so only a weak E z response with a magnitude of ∼several V/m will be produced by ∼100 nT geomagnetic disturbance. However, at balloon heights (∼30 km), electric field of the E-mode becomes dominating. Predicted amplitudes of horizontal electric field in the atmosphere induced by Pc5 pulsations and travelling convection vortices, about tens of mV/m, are in good agreement with balloon electric field and ground magnetometer observations. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    During geomagnetic storms and substorms, the magnetosphere and ionosphere are strongly coupled by precipitating magnetospheric electrons from the Earth's plasma sheet and driven by both magnetospheric and ionospheric processes. Magnetospheric wave activity initiates electron precipitation, and the ionosphere and upper atmosphere further facilitate this process by enhancing the value of precipitated energy fluxes via connection of two magnetically conjugate regions and multiple atmospheric reflections. This paper focuses on the resulting electron energy fluxes and affiliated height‐integrated Pedersen and Hall conductances in the auroral regions produced by multiple atmospheric reflections during the 17 March 2013 geomagnetic storm and their effects on the inner magnetospheric electric field and ring current. Our study is based on the magnetically and electrically self‐consistent Rice Convection Model‐Equilibrium of the inner magnetosphere with SuperThermal Electron Transport modified electron energy fluxes that take into account the electron energy interplay between the two magnetically conjugate ionospheres. SuperThermal Electron Transport‐modified energy flux in the Rice Convection Model‐Equilibrium leads to a significant difference in the global conductance pattern, ionospheric electric field formation, Birkeland current structure, ring current energization and its energy content, subauroral polarization drifts intensifications and their spatial locations, interchange instability redistribution, and overall energy interplay on the global scale.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The most dynamic electromagnetic coupling between the magnetosphere and ionosphere occurs in the polar upper atmosphere. It is critical to quantify the electromagnetic energy and momentum input associated with this coupling as its impacts on the ionosphere and thermosphere system are global and major, often leading to considerable disturbances in near‐Earth space environments. The current general circulation models of the upper atmosphere exhibit systematic biases that can be attributed to an inadequate representation of the Joule heating rate resulting from unaccounted stochastic fluctuations of electric fields associated with the magnetosphere‐ionosphere coupling. These biases exist regardless of geomagnetic activity levels. To overcome this limitation, a new multiresolution random field modeling approach is developed, and the efficacy of the approach is demonstrated using Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) data carefully curated for the study during a largely quiet 4‐hour period on February 29, 2012. Regional small‐scale electrostatic fields sampled at different resolutions from a probabilistic distribution of electric field variability conditioned on actual SuperDARN LOS observations exhibit considerably more localized fine‐scale features in comparison to global large‐scale fields modeled using the SuperDARN Assimilative Mapping procedure. The overall hemispherically integrated Joule heating rate is increased by a factor of about 1.5 due to the effect of random regional small‐scale electric fields, which is close to the lower end of arbitrarily adjusted Joule heating multiplicative factor of 1.5 and 2.5 typically used in upper atmosphere general circulation models. The study represents an important step toward a data‐driven ensemble modeling of magnetosphere‐ionosphere‐atmosphere coupling processes.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Energetic particles of magnetospheric origin constantly strike the Earth’s upper atmosphere in the polar regions, producing optical emissions known as the aurora. The most spectacular auroral displays are associated with recurrent events called magnetospheric substorms (aka auroral substorms). Substorms are initiated in the nightside magnetosphere on closed magnetic field lines. As a consequence, it is generally thought that auroral substorms should occur in both hemispheres on the same field line (i.e., magnetically conjugated). However, such a hypothesis has not been verified statistically. Here, by analyzing 2659 auroral substorms acquired by the Ultraviolet Imager on board the NASA satellite “Polar”, we have discovered surprising evidence that the averaged location for substorm onsets is not conjugate but shows a geographic preference that cannot be easily explained by current substorm theories. In the Northern Hemisphere (NH) the auroral substorms occur most frequently in Churchill, Canada (~90°W) and Khatanga, Siberia (~100°E), up to three times as often as in Iceland (~22°W). In the Southern Hemisphere (SH), substorms occur more frequently over a location in the Antarctic ocean (~120°E), up to ~4 times more than over the Antarctic Continent. Such a large difference in the longitudinal distribution of north and south onset defies the common belief that substorms in the NH and SH should be magnetically conjugated. A further analysis indicates that these substorm events occurred more frequently when more of the ionosphere was dark. These geographic areas also coincide with regions where the Earth’s magnetic field is largest. These facts suggest that auroral substorms occur more frequently, and perhaps more intensely, when the ionospheric conductivity is lower. With much of the magnetotail energy coming from the solar wind through merging of the interplanetary and Earth’s magnetic field, it is generally thought that the occurrence of substorms is externally controlled by the solar wind and plasma instability in the magnetotail. The present study results provide a strong argument that the ionosphere plays a more active role in the occurrence of substorms.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Faraday's law of induction is responsible for setting up a geoelectric field due to the variations in the geomagnetic field caused by ionospheric currents. This drives geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) which flow in large ground‐based technological infrastructure such as high‐voltage power lines. The geoelectric field is often a localized phenomenon exhibiting significant variations over spatial scales of only hundreds of kilometers. This is due to the complex spatiotemporal behavior of electrical currents flowing in the ionosphere and/or large gradients in the ground conductivity due to highly structured local geological properties. Over some regions, and during large storms, both of these effects become significant. In this study, we quantify the regional variability ofdB/dtusing closely placed IMAGE stations in northern Fennoscandia. The dependency between regional variability, solar wind conditions, and geomagnetic indices are also investigated. Finally, we assess the significance of spatial geomagnetic variations to modeling GICs across a transmission line. Key results from this study are as follows: (1) Regional geomagnetic disturbances are important in modeling GIC during strong storms; (2)dB/dtcan vary by several times up to a factor of three compared to the spatial average; (3)dB/dtand its regional variation is coupled to the energy deposited into the magnetosphere; and (4) regional variability can be more accurately captured and predicted from a local index as opposed to a global one. These results demonstrate the need for denser magnetometer networks at high latitudes where transmission lines extending hundreds of kilometers are present.

     
    more » « less