Agnit Mukhopadhyay

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Ionospheric conductance is a crucial factor in regulating the closure of magnetospheric field-aligned currents through the ionosphere as Hall and Pedersen currents. Despite its importance in predictive investigations of the magnetosphere - ionosphere coupling, the estimation of ionospheric conductance in the auroral region is precarious in most global first-principles based models. This impreciseness in estimating the auroral conductance impedes both our understanding and predictive capabilities of the magnetosphere-ionosphere system during extreme space weather events. In this article, we address this concern, with the development of an advanced Conductance Model for Extreme Events (CMEE) that estimates the auroral conductance from field aligned current values. CMEE has been developed using nonlinear regression over a year’s worth of one-minute resolution output from assimilative maps, specifically including times of extreme driving of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere system. The model also includes provisions to enhance the conductance in the aurora using additional adjustments to refine the auroral oval. CMEE has been incorporated within the Ridley Ionosphere Model (RIM) of the Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF) for usage in space weather simulations. This paper compares performance of CMEE against the existing conductance model in RIM, through a validation process for six space weather events. The performance analysis indicates overall improvement in the ionospheric feedback to ground-based space weather forecasts. Specifically, the model is able to improve the prediction of ionospheric currents which impact the simulated dB/dt and ΔB, resulting in substantial improvements in dB/dt predictive skill.

Shibaji Chakraborty

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