Effect of Precipitating Electrons on Ring Current Energy Content, Ionospheric Conductance, and Thermospheric Properties

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:06 PM
Margaret Chen1, Colby L Lemon1, Richard L Walterscheid2, Bernard Yoo1, James H Hecht3, Yuri Shprits4, Ksenia Orlova4, Michael Schulz5 and Joseph Scott Evans6, (1)Aerospace Corporation Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)Aerospace Corp, M2-260, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (3)The Aerospace Corp, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (4)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (5)Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, CA, United States, (6)Computational Physics Inc. Springfield, Springfield, VA, United States
We investigate how scattering of electrons by waves in the plasma sheet and plasmasphere affects precipitating energy flux distributions during magnetic storms, how the precipitating electrons modify the ionospheric Hall and Pederson conductivity and electric potential, how these processes feedback on magnetospheric particle transport and redistribute the ring current, and how the ionization and energy deposition of precipitating electrons affects thermospheric winds and temperature. Our main approach is to couple simulation models: (1) the magnetically and electrically self-consistent Rice Convection Model – Equilibrium (RCM-E) of the inner magnetosphere, (2) the B3c transport model for electron-proton-hydrogen atom aurora in the ionosphere, and (3) the Thermosphere-Ionsphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model (TIEGCM) of the ionosphere and thermosphere. Realistic descriptions of electron pitch-angle diffusion by whistler chorus in the plasma sheet/magnetotail and hiss in the plasmasphere are included in the RCM-E. We use parameterized rates of electron pitch-angle scattering with whistler chorus of Orlova and Shprits [JGR, 2014] that depend on equatorial radial distance, magnetic activity (Kp), and magnetic local time. To study how the precipitating electron energy flux distributions affect ionospheric conductivity and ionospheric electric potential patterns, we have performed a one-way coupling of the RCM-E and ionospheric B3c model. The simulated precipitating electron flux distributions are used to specify the energy flux and particle heating due to precipitating auroral electrons for TIEGCM simulations of the neutral atmosphere. We simulate a storm event and compare simulated quantities with in situ observations.