5.7 Global Specification of the Post-Sunset Equatorial Ionization Anomaly

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 5:00 PM
Room 16B (Austin Convention Center)
Clayton Coker, NRL, Washington, DC; and P. Dandenault, K. F. Dymond, S. A. Budzien, A. C. Nicholas, D. H. Chua, S. E. McDonald, C. A. Metzler, L. Scherliess, R. W. Schunk, L. C. Gardner, and L. Zhu

The Special Sensor Ultraviolet Limb Imager (SSULI) on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) is used to specify the post-sunset Equatorial Ionization Anomaly. Ultraviolet emission profiles of 135.6 nm and 91.1 nm emissions from O++ e recombination are measured in successive altitude scans along the orbit of the satellite. The overlapping sample geometry provides for a high resolution reconstruction of the ionosphere in altitude and latitude for each pass of the satellite. Emission profiles are ingested by the Global Assimilation of Ionospheric Measurements (GAIM) space weather model, which was developed by Utah State University and is run operationally at the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA). The resulting specification of the equatorial ionosphere reveals significant variability in the post-sunset anomaly, which is reflective of the driving space weather processes, namely, electric fields and neutral winds. Significant longitudinal and day-to-day variability in the magnitude (or even existence) of the post-sunset anomaly reveal the influence of atmospheric tides and waves as well as geomagnetic disturbances on the pre-reversal enhancement of the electric field. Significant asymmetry between anomaly crests reveals the influence of atmospheric tides and waves on meridional neutral winds. A neutral wind parallel to the magnetic field line pushes plasma up (or down) the field lines, which raises (or lowers) the altitude of the crests and modifies the horizontal location and magnitude of the crests. The variability in the post-sunset anomaly is one of the largest sources of error in ionospheric specification models. The SSULI instrument provides critical data towards the reduction of this specification error and the determination of key driver parameters used in ionospheric forecasting.

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Base Program, and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

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