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Reconstruction analysis of global ionospheric outflow patterns
  • +8
  • Michael W. Liemohn,
  • Jorg-Micha Jahn,
  • Raluca Ilie,
  • Natalia Yu Ganushkina,
  • Daniel T Welling,
  • Heather Alison Elliott,
  • meghan burleigh,
  • Kaitlin Doublestein,
  • Stephanie Colon-Rodriguez,
  • Pauline Dredger,
  • Philip Valek
Michael W. Liemohn
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jorg-Micha Jahn
Southwest Research Institute
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Raluca Ilie
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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Natalia Yu Ganushkina
Finnish Meteorological Institute
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Daniel T Welling
University of Michigan
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Heather Alison Elliott
Southwest Research Institute
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meghan burleigh
Naval Research Laboratory
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Kaitlin Doublestein
University of Michigain
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Stephanie Colon-Rodriguez
University of Michigan
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Pauline Dredger
The University of Texas at Arlington
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Philip Valek
Southwest Research Institute
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Ionospheric outflow supplies nearly all of the heavy ions observed within the magnetosphere, as well as a significant fraction of the proton density. While much is known about upflow and outflow energization processes, the full global pattern of outflow and its evolution is only known statistically or through numerical modeling. Because of the dominant role of heavy ions in several key physical processes, this unknown nature of the full outflow pattern leads to significant uncertainty in understanding geospace dynamics, especially surrounding storm intervals. That is, global models risk not accurately reproducing the main features of intense space storms because the amount of ionospheric outflow is poorly specified and thus magnetospheric composition and mass loading could be ill-defined. This study defines a potential mission to observe ionospheric outflow from several platforms, allowing for a reasonable and sufficient reconstruction of the full outflow pattern on an orbital cadence. An observing system simulation experiment is conducted, revealing that four well-placed satellites are sufficient for reasonably accurate outflow reconstructions. The science scope of this mission could include the following: reveal the global structure of ionospheric outflow; relate outflow patterns to geomagnetic activity level; and determine the spatial and temporal nature of outflow composition. The science objectives could be focused to be achieved with minimal instrumentation (only a low-energy ion spectrometer to obtain outflow reconstructions) or with a larger scientific scope by including contextual instrumentation. Note that the upcoming Geospace Dynamics Constellation mission will observe upwelling but not ionospheric outflow.
02 Nov 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
03 Nov 2023Published in ESS Open Archive