skip to main content


Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1934997

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    We present a statistical investigation of the effects of interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) on hemispheric asymmetry in auroral currents. Nearly 6 years of magnetic field measurements from Swarm A and C satellites are analyzed. Bootstrap resampling is used to remove the difference in the number of samples and IMF conditions between the local seasons and the hemispheres. Currents are stronger in Northern Hemisphere (NH) than Southern Hemisphere (SH) for IMF Bin NH (Bin SH) in most local seasons under both signs of IMF B. For Bin NH (Bin SH), the hemispheric difference in currents is small except in local winter when currents in NH are stronger than in SH. During Band Bin NH (Band Bin SH), the largest hemispheric asymmetry occurs in local winter and autumn, when the NH/SH ratio of field aligned current (FAC) is 1.180.09 in winter and 1.170.09 in autumn. During Band Bin NH (Band Bin SH), the largest asymmetry is observed in local autumn with NH/SH ratio of 1.160.07 for FAC. We also find an explicit Beffect on auroral currents in a given hemisphere: on average Bin NH and Bin SH causes larger currents than vice versa. The explicit Beffect on divergence‐free current during IMF Bis in very good agreement with the Beffect on the cross polar cap potential from the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network dynamic model except at SH equinox and NH summer.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Medium‐scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances (MSTIDs) are prominent and ubiquitous features of the mid‐latitude ionosphere, and are observed in Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) and high‐resolution Global Navigational Satellite Service (GNSS) Total Electron Content (TEC) data. The mechanisms driving these MSTIDs are an open area of research, especially during geomagnetic storms. Previous studies have demonstrated that nightside MSTIDs are associated with an electrodynamic instability mechanism like Perkins, especially during geomagnetically quiet conditions. However, dayside MSTIDs are often associated with atmospheric gravity waves. Very few studies have analyzed the mechanisms driving MSTIDs during strong geomagnetic storms at mid‐latitudes. In this study, we present mid‐latitude MSTIDs observed in de‐trended GNSS TEC data and SuperDARN radars over the North American sector, during a geomagnetic storm (peakKpreaching 9) on 7–8 September 2017. In SuperDARN, MSTIDs were observed in ionospheric backscatter with Line of Sight (LOS) velocities exceeding 800 m/s. Additionally, radar LOS velocities oscillated with amplitudes reaching ±500 m/s as the MSTIDs passed through the fields‐of‐view. In detrended TEC, these MSTIDs produced perturbations reaching ∼50 percent of background TEC magnitude. The MSTIDs were observed to propagate in the westward/south‐westward direction with a time period of ∼15 min. Projecting de‐trended GNSS TEC data along SuperDARN beams showed that enhancements in TEC were correlated with enhancements in SuperDARN SNR and positive LOS velocities. Finally, SuperDARN LOS velocities systematically switched polarities between the crests and the troughs of the MSTIDs, indicating the presence of polarization electric fields and an electrodynamic instability process during these MSTIDs.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) is a collection of radars built to study ionospheric convection. We use a 7‐year archive of SuperDARN convection maps, processed in 3 different ways, to build a statistical understanding of dusk‐dawn asymmetries in the convection patterns. We find that the data set processing alone can introduce a bias which manifests itself in dusk‐dawn asymmetries. We find that the solar wind clock angle affects the balance in the strength of the convection cells. We further find that the location of the positive potential foci is most likely observed at latitudes of 78° for long periods (>300 min) of southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), as opposed to 74° for short periods (<20 min) of steady IMF. For long steady dawnward IMF the median is also at 78°. For long steady periods of duskward IMF, the positive potential foci tends to be at lower latitudes than the negative potential and vice versa during dawnward IMF. For long periods of steady Northward IMF, the positive and negative cells can swap sides in the convection pattern. We find that they move from ∼0–9 MLT to 15 MLT or ∼15–23 MLT to 10 MLT, which reduces asymmetry in the average convection cell locations for Northward IMF. We also investigate the width of the region in which the convection returns to the dayside, the return flow width. Asymmetries in this are not obvious, until we select by solar wind conditions, when the return flow region is widest for the negative convection cell during Southward IMF.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    An interplanetary shock can abruptly compress the magnetosphere, excite magnetospheric waves and field‐aligned currents, and cause a ground magnetic response known as a sudden commencement (SC). However, the transient (<∼1 min) response of the ionosphere‐thermosphere system during an SC has been little studied due to limited temporal resolution in previous investigations. Here, we report observations of a global reversal of ionospheric vertical plasma motion during an SC on 24 October 2011 using ∼6 s resolution Super Dual Auroral Radar Network ground scatter data. The dayside ionosphere suddenly moved downward during the magnetospheric compression due to the SC, lasting for only ∼1 min before moving upward. By contrast, the post‐midnight ionosphere briefly moved upward then moved downward during the SC. Simulations with a coupled geospace model suggest that the reversedvertical drift is caused by a global reversal of ionospheric zonal electric field induced by magnetospheric compression during the SC.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) is a network of High Frequency (HF) radars that are typically used for monitoring plasma convection in the Earth's ionosphere. A majority of SuperDARN backscatter can broadly be divided into three categories: (a) ionospheric scatter due to reflections from plasma irregularities in the E and F regions of the ionosphere, (b) ground scatter caused by reflections from the ground/sea surface following reflection in the ionosphere, and (c) backscatter from meteor trails left by meteoroids as they enter the Earth's atmosphere. Due to the complex nature of HF propagation and mid‐latitude electrodynamics, it is often not straightforward to distinguish between different modes of backscatter observed by SuperDARN. In this study, we present a new two‐stage machine learning algorithm for identifying different backscatter modes in SuperDARN data. In the first stage, a neural network that “mimics” ray‐tracing is used to predict the probability of ionospheric and ground scatter occurring at a given location along with parameters like the elevation angles, reflection heights etc. The inputs to the network include parameters that control HF propagation, such as signal frequency, season, UT time, and geomagnetic activity levels. In the second stage, the output probabilities from the neural network and actual SuperDARN data are clustered together to determine the category of the backscatter. Our model can distinguish between meteor scatter, 1/2 hop E‐/F‐region ionospheric as well as ground/sea scatter. We validate our model by comparing predicted elevation angles with those measured at a SuperDARN radar.

     
    more » « less
  6. Abstract

    Propagation of high‐frequency (HF) radio signals is strongly dependent on the ionospheric electron density structure along a communications link. The ground‐based, HF space weather radars of the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) utilize the ionospheric refraction of transmitted signals to monitor the global circulation ofE‐ andF‐region plasma irregularities. Previous studies have assessed the propagation characteristics of backscatter echoes from ionospheric irregularities in the auroral and polar regions of the Earth's ionosphere. By default, the geographic location of these echoes are found using empirical models which estimate the virtual backscattering height from the measured range along the radar signal path. However, the performance of these virtual height models has not yet been evaluated for mid‐latitude SuperDARN radar observations or for ground scatter (GS) propagation modes. In this study, we derive a virtual height model suitable for mid‐latitude SuperDARN observations using 5 years of data from the Christmas Valley East and West radars. This empirical model can be applied to both ionospheric and GS observations and provides an improved estimate of the ground range to the backscatter location compared to existing high‐latitude virtual height models. We also identify a region of overlapping half‐hopF‐region ionospheric scatter and one‐hopE‐region GS where the measured radar parameters (e.g., velocity, spectral width, elevation angle) are insufficient to discriminate between the two scatter types. Further studies are required to determine whether these backscatter echoes of ambiguous origin are observed by other mid‐latitude SuperDARN radars and their potential impact on scatter classification schemes.

     
    more » « less
  7. Abstract

    This study provides first storm time observations of the westward‐propagating medium‐scale traveling ionospheric disturbances (MSTIDs), particularly, associated with characteristic subauroral storm time features, storm‐enhanced density (SED), subauroral polarization stream (SAPS), and enhanced thermospheric westward winds over the continental US. In the four recent (2017–2019) geomagnetic storm cases examined in this study (i.e., 2018‐08‐25/26, 2017‐09‐07/08, 2017‐05‐27/28, and 2016‐02‐02/03 with minimum SYM‐H index −206, −146, −142, and −58 nT, respectively), MSTIDs were observed from dusk‐to‐midnight local times predominately during the intervals of interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) Bz stably southward. Multiple wavefronts of the TIDs were elongated NW‐SE, 2°–3° longitude apart, and southwestward propagated at a range of zonal phase speeds between 100 and 300 m/s. These TIDs initiated in the northeastern US and intensified or developed in the central US with either the coincident SED structure (especially the SED basis region) or concurrent small electron density patches adjacent to the SED. Observations also indicate coincident intense storm time electric fields associated with the magnetosphere–ionosphere–thermosphere coupling electrodynamics at subauroral latitudes (such as SAPS) as well as enhanced thermospheric westward winds. We speculate that these electric fields trigger plasma instability (with large growth rates) and MSTIDs. These electrified MSTIDs propagated westward along with the background westward ion flow which resulted from the disturbance westward wind dynamo and/or SAPS.

     
    more » « less
  8. Abstract

    The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) was built to study ionospheric convection and has in recent years been expanded geographically. Alongside software developments, this has resulted in many different versions of the convection maps data set being available. Using data from 2012 to 2018, we produce five different versions of the widely used convection maps, using limited backscatter ranges, background models and the exclusion/inclusion of data from specific radar groups such as the StormDARN radars. This enables us to simulate how much information was missing from older SuperDARN research. We study changes in the Heppner‐Maynard boundary (HMB), the cross polar cap potential (CPCP), the number of backscatter echoes (n) and theχ2/nstatistic which is a measure of the global agreement between the measured and fitted velocities. We find that the CPCP is reduced when the PolarDARN radars are introduced, but then increases again when the StormDARN radars are added. When the background model is changed from the RG96 model, to the most recent TS18 model, the CPCP tends to decrease for lower values, but tends to increase for higher values. When comparing to geomagnetic indices, we find that there is on average a linear relationship between the HMB and the geomagnetic indices, as well asn, which breaks when the HMB is located at latitudes below ∼50° due to the low observational density. Whilstnis important in constraining the maps (maps withn > 400 data points are unlikely to differ), it is insufficient as the sole measure of quality.

     
    more » « less
  9. Abstract

    Intense sunward (westward) plasma flows, named Subauroral Polarization Stream (SAPS), have been known to occur equatorward of the electron auroras for decades, yet their effect on the upper thermosphere has not been well understood. On the one hand, the large velocity of SAPS results in large momentum exchange upon each ion‐neutral collision. On the other hand, the low plasma density associated with SAPS implies a low ion‐neutral collision frequency. We investigate the SAPS effect during non‐storm time by utilizing a Scanning Doppler Imager (SDI) for monitoring the upper thermosphere, SuperDARN radars for SAPS, all‐sky imagers and DMSP Spectrographic Imager for the auroral oval, and GPS receivers for the total electron content. Our observations suggest that SAPS at times drives substantial (>50 m/s) westward winds at subauroral latitudes in the dusk‐midnight sector, but not always. The occurrence of the westward winds varies withAEindex, plasma content in the trough, and local time. The latitudinally averaged wind speed varies from 60 to 160 m/s, and is statistically 21% of the plasma. These westward winds also shift to lower latitude with increasingAEand increasing MLT. We do not observe SAPS driving poleward wind surges, neutral temperature enhancements, or acoustic‐gravity waves, likely due to the somewhat weak forcing of SAPS during the non‐storm time.

     
    more » « less
  10. Abstract

    The sub‐auroral polarization stream (SAPS) is a region of westward high velocity plasma convection equatorward of the auroral oval that plays an important role in mid‐latitude space weather dynamics. In this study, we present observations of SAPS flows extending across the North American sector observed during the recovery phase of a minor geomagnetic storm. A resurgence in substorm activity drove a new set of field‐aligned currents (FACs) into the ionosphere, initiating the SAPS. An upward FAC system is the most prominent feature spreading across most SAPS local times, except near dusk, where a downward current system is pronounced. The location of SAPS flows remained relatively constant, firmly inside the trough, independent of the variability in the location and intensity of the FACs. The SAPS flows were sustained even after the FACs weakened and retreated polewards with a decline in geomagnetic activity. The observations indicate that the mid‐latitude trough plays a crucial role in determining the location of the SAPS and that SAPS flows can be sustained even after the magnetospheric driver has weakened.

     
    more » « less