Modeling the ionosphere-thermosphere response to a geomagnetic storm using physics-based magnetospheric energy input: OpenGGCM-CTIM results
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Modeling the ionosphere-thermosphere response to a geomagnetic storm using physics-based magnetospheric energy input: OpenGGCM-CTIM results

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate
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  • Description:
    The magnetosphere is a major source of energy for the Earth's ionosphere and thermosphere (IT) system. Current IT models drive the upper atmosphere using empirically calculated magnetospheric energy input. Thus, they do not sufficiently capture the storm-time dynamics, particularly at high latitudes. To improve the prediction capability of IT models, a physics-based magnetospheric input is necessary. Here, we use the Open Global General Circulation Model (OpenGGCM) coupled with the Coupled Thermosphere Ionosphere Model (CTIM). OpenGGCM calculates a three-dimensional global magnetosphere and a two-dimensional high-latitude ionosphere by solving resistive magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations with solar wind input. CTIM calculates a global thermosphere and a high-latitude ionosphere in three dimensions using realistic magnetospheric inputs from the OpenGGCM. We investigate whether the coupled model improves the storm-time IT responses by simulating a geomagnetic storm that is preceded by a strong solar wind pressure front on August 24, 2005. We compare the OpenGGCM-CTIM results with low-earth-orbit satellite observations and with the model results of Coupled Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Plasmasphere electrodynamics (CTIPe). CTIPe is an up-to-date version of CTIM that incorporates more IT dynamics such as a low-latitude ionosphere and a plasmasphere, but uses empirical magnetospheric input. OpenGGCM-CTIM reproduces localized neutral density peaks at similar to 400 km altitude in the high-latitude dayside regions in agreement with in situ observations during the pressure shock and the early phase of the storm. Although CTIPe is in some sense a much superior model than CTIM, it misses these localized enhancements. Unlike the CTIPe empirical input models, OpenGGCM-CTIM more faithfully produces localized increases of both auroral precipitation and ionospheric electric fields near the high-latitude dayside region after the pressure shock and after the storm onset, which in turn effectively heats the thermosphere and causes the neutral density increase at 400 km altitude.
  • Source:
    Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate, 6, A25.
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    CC BY
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