Day-to-day thermosphere parameter variation as deduced from Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar observations during March 16-22, 1990 magnetic storm period
Abstract. A self-consistent method for day-time F2-region modelling was applied to the analysis of Millstone Hill incoherent scatter observations during the storm period of March 16-22, 1990. The method allows us to calculate in a self-consistent way neutral composition, temperature and meridional wind as well as the ionized species height distribution. Theoretically calculated Ne(h) profiles fit the observed daytime ones with great accuracy in the whole range of heights above 150 km for both quiet and disturbed days. The overall increase in Tex by 270 K from March 16 to March 22 reflects the increase of solar activity level during the period in question. A 30% decrease in [O] and a two-fold increase in [N2] are calculated for the disturbed day of March 22 relative to quiet time prestorm conditions. Only a small reaction to the first geomagnetic disturbance on March 18 and the initial phase of the second storm on March 20 was found in [O] and [N2] variations. The meridional neutral wind inferred from plasma vertical drift clearly demonstrates the dependence on the geomagnetic activity level being more equatorward on disturbed days. Small positive F2-layer storm effects on March 18 and 20 are totally attributed to the decrease in the northward neutral wind but not to changes in neutral composition. A moderate (by a factor of 1.5) O/N2 ratio decrease relative to the MSIS-83 model prediction is required to describe the observed NmF2 decrease on the most disturbed day of March 22, but virtually no change of this ratio is needed for March 21.