Articles | Volume 31, issue 1
Regular paper
04 Jan 2013
Regular paper |  | 04 Jan 2013

Controlling of merging electric field and IMF magnitude on storm-time changes in thermospheric mass density

Y. L. Zhou, S. Y. Ma, R. S. Liu, H. Luehr, and E. Doornbos

Abstract. The controls of merging electrical field, Em, and IMF (interplanetary magnetic field) magnitude, B, on the storm-time changes in upper thermospheric mass density are statistically investigated using GRACE accelerometer observations and the OMNI data of solar wind and IMF for 35 great storms during 2002–2006. It reveals the following: (1) The correlation coefficients between the air mass density changes and the parameters of Em and B are generally larger at lower latitudes than at higher latitudes, and larger in noon and midnight sectors than in dawn and dusk. (2) The most likely delay time (MLDT) of mass density changes in respect to Em is about 1.5 h (4.5 h) at high (low) latitudes, having no distinct local time dependence, while it is 6 h at middle latitudes in all the local time sectors except for noon, which is longer than at low latitudes. A similar fact of longer delay time at mid-latitude is also seen for B. The MLDTs for B at various latitudes are all local time dependent distinctly with shorter delay time in noon/midnight sector and larger in dawn/dusk. Despite of widely spread of the delay time, IMF B exhibits still larger correlation coefficients with mass density changes among the interplanetary parameters. (3) The linear control factor of B on the density changes increases for large B, in contrast to somewhat saturation trend for larger Em. (4) The influence of B and Em on the mass densities shows different behavior for different types of storms. The influence intensity of Em is much stronger for CIR-driven than for CME-driven storm, while it is not so distinct for B. On the local time asymmetry of the influence, both Em and B have largest influence at noon sector for CME-driven storms, while an obviously larger intensification of the influence is found in dawn/dusk sector during CIR storms, especially for parameter Em.