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Stormtime ring current heating of the ionosphere and plasmasphere
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  • Jonathan Krall,
  • Mei-Ching H. Fok,
  • Joseph Huba,
  • Alex Glocer
Jonathan Krall
Naval Research Laboratory

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mei-Ching H. Fok
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Joseph Huba
Syntek Technologies
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Alex Glocer
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The energy deposition from ring current ions into the high density ‘cold’ plasma of the ionosphere and plasmasphere is analyzed, based on a Comprehensive Inner Magnetosphere-Ionosphere (CIMI) simulation of the 2015 October 7 storm. In addition, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Sami3 is Also a Model of the Ionosphere (SAMI3) ionosphere/plasmasphere code is used to simulate the effect of ring current heating on the ionosphere and plasmasphere. We find that, during stormtime peaks in the Dst index, energy is deposited at altitudes as low as 100 km. Heating along the entirety of any given field line, both in the ionosphere and plasmasphere, contributes to increased temperatures in the topside ionosphere and inner magnetosphere and to subsequent cold O$^+$ outflows. However, relative to the heating of the plasmasphere, the direct heating of the ionosphere by ring current ions produces only small effects. Model-data agreement in the N$^+$/O$^+$ density ratio shows that these O$^+$ outflows are driven by thermal forcing.