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Thermospheric Temperature and Density Variability During 3 to 4 February 2022 Minor Geomagnetic Storm: The SpaceX Satellite Loss Event
  • +8
  • Fazlul I Laskar,
  • Eric K Sutton,
  • Dong Lin,
  • Katelynn R Greer,
  • Saurav Aryal,
  • Xuguang Cai,
  • Nicholas Michael Pedatella,
  • Richard W Eastes,
  • Wenbin Wang,
  • Mihail V. Codrescu,
  • William E. McClintock
Fazlul I Laskar
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Eric K Sutton
University of Colorado at Boulder
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Dong Lin
National Center for Atmospheric Research
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Katelynn R Greer
University of Colorado Boulder
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Saurav Aryal
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
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Xuguang Cai
U of colorado, Boulder
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Nicholas Michael Pedatella
National Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
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Richard W Eastes
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
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Wenbin Wang
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Mihail V. Codrescu
Space Weather Prediction Center, National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
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William E. McClintock
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
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Themospheric conditions during a minor geomagnetic event of 3 and 4 February 2022 has been investigated using disk temperature (T$_{disk}$) observations from Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission and model simulations. GOLD observed that the T$_{disk}$ increases by more than 60 K during the storm event when compared with pre-storm quiet days. A comparison of the T$_{disk}$ with effective temperatures (i.e., a weighted average based on airglow emission layer) from Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter radar version 2 (MSIS2) and Multiscale Atmosphere-Geospace Environment (MAGE) models shows that MAGE outperforms MSIS2 during this particular event. MAGE underestimates the T$_{eff}$ by about 2\%, whereas MSIS2 underestimates it by 7\%. As temperature enhancements lead to an expansion of the thermosphere and resulting density changes, the value of the temperature enhancement observed by GOLD can be utilized to find a GOLD equivalent MSIS2 (GOLD-MSIS) simulation $\textendash$ from a set of MSIS2 runs obtained by varying geomagnetic ap index values. From the MSIS2 runs we find that an ap value of 116 nT produces a T$_{eff}$ perturbation that matches with the GOLD T$_{disk}$ enhancement. Note that during this storm the highest value of the 3 hr cadence ap was 56 nT. From the MSIS-GOLD run we found that the thermospheric density enhancement varies with altitude from 15\% (at 150 km) to 80\% (at 500 km). Independent simulations from the MAGE model also show a comparable enhancement in neutral density. These results suggest that even a modest storm could impact the thermospheric densities significantly.
Apr 2023Published in Space Weather volume 21 issue 4. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022SW003349