29 Mar 2021

29 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Types of pulsating aurora: Comparison of model and EISCAT electron density observations

Fasil Tesema1,2, Noora Partamies1,2, Daniel K. Whiter3, and Yasunobu Ogawa4 Fasil Tesema et al.
  • 1The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway
  • 2Birkeland Centre for Space Science, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 3School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  • 4National Institute of Polar Research, Japan

Abstract. Energetic particle precipitation associated with pulsating aurora (PsA) can reach down to lower mesospheric altitude and deplete ozone. It is well documented that pulsating aurora is a common phenomenon during substorm recovery phases. This indicates that using magnetic indices to model the chemistry induced by PsA electrons could underestimate the energy deposition in the atmosphere. Integrating satellite measurements of precipitating electrons in models is considered to be an alternative way to account for such underestimation. One way to do this is to test and validate existing ion chemistry models using integrated measurements from satellite and ground-based observations. By using satellite measurements, an average/typical spectrum of PsA electrons can be constructed and used as an input in models to study the effects of the energetic electrons in the atmosphere. In this study, we compare electron densities from EISCAT radars with auroral ion chemistry and the energetics model by using pulsating aurora spectra derived from POES satellites as an energy input for the model. We found a good agreement between the model and EISCAT electron densities in the region dominated by patchy pulsating aurora. However, the magnitude of the observed electron densities suggests a significant difference in the flux of precipitating electrons for different pulsating aurora types (structures) observed.

Fasil Tesema et al.

Status: open (until 18 May 2021)

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Fasil Tesema et al.

Video supplement

Supplementary data for: Types of pulsating aurora: Comparison of model and EISCAT electron density observations Tesema, Fasil; Partamies, Noora; Whiter, Daniel K.; Ogawa, Yasunobu

Fasil Tesema et al.


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Short summary
In this study, we present the comparison between an auroral model and EISCAT radar electron densities during pulsating aurorae. We test whether an overpassing satellite measurement of the average energy spectrum is a reasonable estimate for pulsating aurora electron precipitation. When patchy pulsating aurora is dominant in the morning sector, the overpass averaged spectrum is found to be a reasonable estimate, but not when there is a mix of pulsating aurora types in the post-midnight sector.