Ionization and NO production in the polar mesosphere during high-speed solar wind streams: model validation and comparison with NO enhancements observed by Odin-SMR
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2015

Precipitation of high-energy electrons (EEP) into the polar middle atmosphere is a potential source of signif- icant production of odd nitrogen, which may play a role in stratospheric ozone destruction and in perturbing large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns. High-speed streams of so- lar wind (HSS) are a major source of energization and pre- cipitation of electrons from the Earth’s radiation belts, but it remains to be determined whether these electrons make a significant contribution to the odd-nitrogen budget in the middle atmosphere when compared to production by solar protons or by lower-energy (auroral) electrons at higher al- titudes, with subsequent downward transport. Satellite ob- servations of EEP are available, but their accuracy is not well established. Studies of the ionization of the atmosphere in response to EEP, in terms of cosmic-noise absorption (CNA), have indicated an unexplained seasonal variation in HSS-related effects and have suggested possible order-of- magnitude underestimates of the EEP fluxes by the satellite observations in some circumstances. Here we use a model of ionization by EEP coupled with an ion chemistry model to show that published average EEP fluxes, during HSS events, from satellite measurements (Meredith et al., 2011), are fully consistent with the published average CNA response (Ka- vanagh et al., 2012). The seasonal variation of CNA response can be explained by ion chemistry with no need for any sea- sonal variation in EEP. Average EEP fluxes are used to esti- mate production rate profiles of nitric oxide between 60 and 100 km heights over Antarctica for a series of unusually well separated HSS events in austral winter 2010. These are com- pared to observations of changes in nitric oxide during the events, made by the sub-millimetre microwave radiometer on the Odin spacecraft. The observations show strong increases of nitric oxide amounts between 75 and 90 km heights, at all latitudes poleward of 60 ◦ S, about 10 days after the arrival of the HSS. These are of the same order of magnitude but gen- erally larger than would be expected from direct production by HSS-associated EEP, indicating that downward transport likely contributes in addition to direct production.


Energetic Particle Precipitation

Nitric Oxide

Middle atmosphere


Stella Kirkwood

Institutet for rymdfysik

A. Osepian

Russian Academy of Sciences

E. Belova

Institutet for rymdfysik

Joachim Urban

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Global miljömätteknik och modellering

Kristell Perot

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Global miljömätteknik och modellering

K. Sinha

Indian Institute of Geomagnetism

Annales Geophysicae

0992-7689 (ISSN) 1432-0576 (eISSN)

Vol. 33 5 561-572


Meteorologi och atmosfärforskning



Mer information

Senast uppdaterat