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  • Billett_et_al_final

    Rights statement: Accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. Copyright 2019 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.

    Accepted author manuscript, 1.6 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

  • 2019JA026627

    Final published version, 4.04 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Spatially Resolved Neutral Wind Response Times During High Geomagnetic Activity Above Svalbard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/08/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number8
Volume124
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)6950–6960
Publication statusPublished
Early online date31/07/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

It has previously been shown that in the high-latitude thermosphere, sudden changes in plasma velocity (such as those due to changes in interplanetary magnetic field) are not immediately propagated into the neutral gas via the ion-drag force. This is due to the neutral particles (O, O 2, and N 2) constituting the bulk mass of the thermospheric altitude range and thus holding on to residual inertia from a previous level of geomagnetic forcing. This means that consistent forcing (or dragging) from the ionospheric plasma is required, over a period of time, long enough for the neutrals to reach an equilibrium with regard to ion drag. Furthermore, mesoscale variations in the plasma convection morphology, solar pressure gradients, and other forces indicate that the thermosphere-ionosphere coupling mechanism will also vary in strength across small spatial scales. Using data from the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network and a Scanning Doppler Imager, a geomagnetically active event was identified, which showed plasma flows clearly imparting momentum to the neutrals. A cross-correlation analysis determined that the average time for the neutral winds to accelerate fully into the direction of ion drag was 75 min, but crucially, this time varied by up to 30 min (between 67 and 97 min) within a 1,000-km field of view at an altitude of around 250 km. It is clear from this that the mesoscale structure of both the plasma and neutrals has a significant effect on ion-neutral coupling strength and thus energy transfer in the thermosphere.

Bibliographic note

Accepted for publication in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. Copyright 2019 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.