Modeling the equatorial and low latitude ionosphere response to an intense X-class solar flare

Monday, 15 December 2014
Paulo Nogueira1, Jonas Souza1, Mangalathayil A Abdu1, Ricardo da Rosa Paes1, Jonas Sousa Santos1, Manilo S Marques1, Graham J Bailey2, Ricardo Cueva3, Clezio Marcos De Nardin1, Hisao Takahashi1, Inez Staciarini Batista1 and Sony S Chen1, (1)INPE National Institute for Space Research, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, (2)University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, (3)Presbyterian Mackenzie University, Sao Paulo, Brazil
We have investigated the ionospheric response close to the subsolar point due to the strong solar flare (X2.8) that occurred on May 13th, 2013. The present work discusses the sudden disturbances observed in the major ionospheric parameters, such as in the E-region current system as obtained from ground based magnetometer observations near magnetic equator, and at low and mid-latitude stations. A strong intensification of the eastward Equatorial Electrojet (EEJ) was observed over Peru. The dayside ionosphere showed an abrupt increase of the Total Electron Content (TEC) over South America, especially over the low latitude region, due to the flare enhanced ionizing solar radiation flux. In this work we have used the Sheffield University Plasmasphere-Ionosphere Model (SUPIM) to model the TEC enhancement as arising from the flare enhanced solar EUV flux and soft X-rays. The simulation results are compared with the observational data to validate our results. The overall results can significantly advance our knowledge of ionospheric photochemistry and dynamics to improve our predictive capability on the low latitude ionospheric response to solar flares.