The role of vibrationally excited nitrogen and oxygen in the ionosphere over Millstone Hill during 16-23 March, 1990
Abstract. We present a comparison of the observed behavior of the F region ionosphere over Millstone Hill during the geomagnetically quiet and storm period on 16-23 March, 1990, with numerical model calculations from the time-dependent mathematical model of the Earth's ionosphere and plasmasphere. The effects of vibrationally excited N2(v) and O2(v) on the electron density and temperature are studied using the N2(v) and O2(v) Boltzmann and non-Boltzmann distribution assumptions. The deviations from the Boltzmann distribution for the first five vibrational levels of N2(v) and O2(v) were calculated. The present study suggests that these deviations are not significant at vibrational levels v = 1 and 2, and the calculated distributions of N2(v) and O2(v) are highly non-Boltzmann at vibrational levels v > 2. The N2(v) and O2(v) non-Boltzmann distribution assumption leads to the decrease of the calculated daytime NmF2 up to a factor of 1.44 (maximum value) in comparison with the N2(v) and O2(v) Boltzmann distribution assumption. The resulting effects of N2(v > 0) and O2(v > 0) on the NmF2 is the decrease of the calculated daytime NmF2 up to a factor of 2.8 (maximum value) for Boltzmann populations of N2(v) and O2(v) and up to a factor of 3.5 (maximum value) for non-Boltzmann populations of N2(v) and O2(v) . This decrease in electron density results in the increase of the calculated daytime electron temperature up to about 1040-1410 K (maximum value) at the F2 peak altitude giving closer agreement between the measured and modeled electron temperatures. Both the daytime and nighttime densities are not reproduced by the model without N2(v > 0) and O2(v > 0) , and inclusion of vibrationally excited N2 and O2 brings the model and data into better agreement. The effects of vibrationally excited O2 and N2 on the electron density and temperature are most pronounced during daytime.
Key words: Ionosphere (ion chemistry and composition; ionosphere-atmosphere interactions; ionospheric disturbances)