Modeling variability in Mars' lower ionosphere

Friday, 19 December 2014
David J Pawlowski1, Stephen W Bougher2 and Michelle Newkirk1, (1)Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, United States, (2)University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Observations of the dayside ionosphere from roughly 100 to 120 km, or in the M1 region, can show significant variability on a wide range of time scales. The processes that lead to this variability are not well understood. It must be that the variable solar flux at energetic EUV wavelengths as well as changes in the underlying thermosphere play a role in determining the density, shape, and altitude of this layer of the atmosphere, but the relative importance of these effects and the consequences for the atmosphere as a whole is still an open question. In this presentation, the Mars Global Ionosphere-Thermosphere Model (M-GITM) is used to investigate this variability and to determine the extent to which solar processes directly shape the M1 region while constraining the role of the underlying thermosphere.