Modeling of the Coupled Magnetospheric and Neutral Wind Dynamos
- Thayer, Jeffrey P.
- Mar. 1997.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- Over the past four years of funding, SRI, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Dallas, has been involved in assessing the influence of thermospheric neutral winds on the electric field and current systems at high latitudes. The initial direction of the project was to perform a set of numerical experiments concerning the contribution of the magnetospheric and neutral wind dynamo processes, under specific boundary conditions, to the polarization electric field and/or the field-aligned current distribution at high latitudes. To facilitate these numerical experiments we developed a numerical scheme that relied on using output from the NCAR Thermosphere-Ionosphere General Circulation Model (NCAR-TIGCM), expanding them in the form of spherical harmonics and solving the dynamo equations spectrally. Once initial calculations were completed, it was recognized that the neutral wind contribution could be significant but its actual contribution to the electric field or currents depended strongly on the generator properties of the magnetosphere. Solutions to this problem are not unique because of the unknown characteristics of the magnetospheric generator, therefore the focus was on two limiting cases. One limiting case was to consider the magnetosphere as a voltage generator delivering a fixed voltage to the high-latitude ionosphere and allowing for the neutral wind dynamo to contribute only to the current system. The second limiting case was to consider the magnetosphere as a current generator and allowing for the neutral wind dynamo to contribute only to the generation of polarization electric fields. This work was completed and presented at the l994 Fall AGU meeting. The direction of the project then shifted to applying the Poynting flux concept to the high-latitude ionosphere. This concept was more attractive as it evaluated the influence of neutral winds on the high-latitude electrodynamics without actually having to determine the generator characteristics of the magnetosphere. The influence of the neutral wind was then determined not by estimating how much electric potential or current density it provides, but by determining the contribution of the neutral wind to the net electromagnetic energy transferred between the ionosphere and magnetosphere. The estimate of the net electromagnetic energy transfer and the role of the neutral winds proves to be a more fundamental quantity in studies of magnetosphere- ionosphere coupling also showed that by using electric and magnetic field measurements from the HILAT satellite, the Poynting flux could be a measurable quantity from polar-orbiting, low- altitude spacecraft. Through collaboration with Dr. Heelis and others at UTD and their expertise of the electric field measurements on the DE-B satellite, an extensive analysis was planned to determine the Poynting flux from the DE-B measurements in combination with a modeling effort to help interpret the observations taking into account the coupled magnetosphere-ionosphere.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19970015844.
Accession ID: 97N18499.
- No Copyright.
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