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Creators/Authors contains: "McInerney, Joseph M."

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  1. Abstract

    Motivated by numerous lower atmosphere climate model hindcast simulations, we performed simulations of the Earth's atmosphere from the surface up through the thermosphere‐ionosphere to reveal for the first time the century scale changes in the upper atmosphere from the 1920s through the 2010s using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model—eXtended (WACCM‐X v. 2.1). We impose solar minimum conditions to get a clear indication of the effects of the long‐term forcing from greenhouse gas increases and changes of the Earth's magnetic field and to avoid the requirement for careful removal of the 11‐year solar cycle as in some previous studies using observations and models. These previous studies have shown greenhouse gas effects in the upper atmosphere but what has been missing is the time evolution with actual greenhouse gas increases throughout the last century, including the period of less than 5% increase prior to the space age and the transition to the over 25% increase in the latter half of the 20th century. Neutral temperature, density, and ionosphere changes are close to those reported in previous studies. Also, we find high correlation between the continuous carbon dioxide rate of change over this past century and that of temperature in the thermosphere and the ionosphere, attributed to the shorter adjustment time of the upper atmosphere to greenhouse gas changes relative to the longer time in the lower atmosphere. Consequently, WACCM‐X future scenario projections can provide valuable insight in the entire atmosphere of future greenhouse gas effects and mitigation efforts.

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  2. Abstract

    The Global‐scale observation of limb and disk mission observed an extra electron density (Ne) peak after sunset at approximately 30°S near 40°W on 4 November 2019, which is poleward and immediately next to the southern equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crest. This Ne peak is different from previously reported mid‐latitude peaks that occur at all local times. The Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model‐eXtended captures this phenomenon. Model diagnostic analysis reveals that the decrease of Ne and hmF2 between 15° and 25°S makes Ne near 30°S appear as an extra density peak relative to the southern EIA crest. Transport by poleward meridional wind decreases Ne between 15° and 25°S. Moreover, the upward E × B drifts due to pre‐reversal enhancement lift the plasma between the dip equator and 15°S but do not affect Ne much between 15° and 25°S with a low drift speed. Comparison with days without the extra peak shows the importance of E × B drift latitudinal variations on the extra peak formation. This study provides new insights into the dynamic variability of the nighttime ionosphere.

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  3. Abstract

    The Starlink satellites launched on 3 February 2022 were lost before they fully arrived in their designated orbits. The loss was attributed to two moderate geomagnetic storms that occurred consecutively on 3–4 February. We investigate the thermospheric neutral mass density variation during these storms with the Multiscale Atmosphere‐Geospace Environment (MAGE) model, a first‐principles, fully coupled geospace model. Simulated neutral density enhancements are validated by Swarm satellite measurements at the altitude of 400–500 km. Comparison with standalone TIEGCM and empirical NRLMSIS 2.0 and DTM‐2013 models suggests better performance by MAGE in predicting the maximum density enhancement and resolving the gradual recovery process. Along the Starlink satellite orbit in the middle thermosphere (∼200 km altitude), MAGE predicts up to 150% density enhancement near the second storm peak while standalone TIEGCM, NRLMSIS 2.0, and DTM‐2013 suggest only ∼50% increase. MAGE also suggests altitudinal, longitudinal, and latitudinal variability of storm‐time percentage density enhancement due to height dependent Joule heating deposition per unit mass, thermospheric circulation changes, and traveling atmospheric disturbances. This study demonstrates that a moderate storm can cause substantial density enhancement in the middle thermosphere. Thermospheric mass density strongly depends on the strength, timing, and location of high‐latitude energy input, which cannot be fully reproduced with empirical models. A physics‐based, fully coupled geospace model that can accurately resolve the high‐latitude energy input and its variability is critical to modeling the dynamic response of thermospheric neutral density during storm time.

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  4. Abstract

    We conducted global simulations of temperature change due to anthropogenic trace gas emissions, which extended from the surface, through the thermosphere and ionosphere, to the exobase. These simulations were done under solar maximum conditions, in order to compare the effect of the solar cycle on global change to previous work using solar minimum conditions. The Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model‐eXtended was employed in this study. As in previous work, lower atmosphere warming, due to increasing anthropogenic gases, is accompanied by upper atmosphere cooling, starting in the lower stratosphere, and becoming dramatic, almost 2 K per decade for the global mean annual mean, in the thermosphere. This thermospheric cooling, and consequent reduction in density, is less than the almost 3 K per decade for solar minimum conditions calculated in previous simulations. This dependence of global change on solar activity conditions is due to solar‐driven increases in radiationally active gases other than carbon dioxide, such as nitric oxide. An ancillary result of these and previous simulations is an estimate of the solar cycle effect on temperatures as a function of altitude. These simulations used modest, five‐member, ensembles, and measured sea surface temperatures rather than a fully coupled ocean model, so any solar cycle effects were not statistically significant in the lower troposphere. Temperature change from solar minimum to maximum increased from near zero at the tropopause to about 1 K at the stratopause, to approximately 500 K in the upper thermosphere, commensurate with the empirical evidence, and previous numerical models.

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