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Title: Global-scale observations of ionospheric convection during geomagnetic storms
Authors: Gillies, D. M.
McWilliams, K. A.
Maurice, J-P. S.
Milan, S. E.
First Published: 31-Dec-2011
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU); Wiley
Citation: Journal of Geophysical Research-SPACE PHYSICS, 2011, 116
Abstract: [1] The global effects on the ionosphere during periods of intense geomagnetic activity associated with geomagnetic storms are investigated using the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN). The influence of the main and recovery phases of geomagnetic storms on ionospheric properties such as backscatter occurrence rates, velocity distributions, and convection patterns are presented. The evolution of magnetosphere and ionosphere parameters during the storms did not depend on the origin of the storm (e.g., a coronal mass ejection or a corotating interaction region). Instead, there was a continuum of response to the intensity of the driver. For example, we found a clear relationship between the most negative value of the southward component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF Bz) and the most negative value of the Sym-H index, which marks the end of the main phase of a storm. This is one of the first superposed epoch studies that analyzes the sunward/antisunward line-of-sight velocity as a function of magnetic local time for geomagnetic storms of various intensities. In the noon sector, before and during the main phase of the storms, the SuperDARN radars recorded faster antisunward ionospheric plasma drifts together with a significant increase in the number of ionospheric echoes. This is consistent with the expected increase in soft particle precipitation in the noon sector and with the reconnection electric field that occurs when the IMF Bz is strongly negative, as is the case during the main phase of storms. The SuperDARN echo occurrence in the noon sector returned to prestorm values early in the recovery phase. The overall response was similar in the midnight sector, except that the peak echo occurrence for the most intense storms was limited to a narrower time interval centered on the end of the main phase. There were reductions in the strong antisunward flows near local midnight observed during the main phase and early in the recovery phase, particularly for the intense storm class. Strong electric fields are applied in the nightside ionosphere during storms, and the decameter structures from which SuperDARN scatter are more easily produced. However, in regions of energetic auroral precipitation and after a long exposure to strong electric fields, there is often a reduction in SuperDARN echoes due to absorption or changes in radio wave propagation.
DOI Link: 10.1029/2011JA017086
ISSN: 0148-0227
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union. All rights reserved. Archived with reference to Usage Permissions granted to authors, available at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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