Articles | Volume 26, issue 12
02 Dec 2008
 | 02 Dec 2008

Comparison of methods to determine auroral ionospheric conductances using ground-based optical and riometer data

A. Senior, M. J. Kosch, and F. Honary

Abstract. Ground-based images of auroral optical emissions and cosmic radio noise absorption provide information on particle precipitation which enhances ionospheric conductances. Knowledge of this conductance field is important to understand the current systems associated with auroral features. Three methods of using ground-based optical and riometer data to estimate ionospheric conductances in the aurora are compared to conductances derived from incoherent scatter radar measurements. It is shown that a method using the 557.7 nm emission intensity alone gives the best results for the Pedersen conductance whilst a method using both this intensity and cosmic noise absorption is best for the Hall conductance. A method using cosmic noise absorption alone gives reasonable performance for the Hall conductance and the Hall/Pedersen conductance ratio, but performs poorly for the Pedersen conductance. It also appears to underestimate the Hall conductance significantly during times when softer precipitation is present, for example in discrete auroral arcs. There is some indication that the methods do not degrade noticeably for angles up to ~20° off magnetic zenith.