Modeling and Predicting the Daily Equatorial Plasma Bubble Activity Using the Tiegcm
Monday, 15 December 2014
Describing and understanding the daily variability of Equatorial Plasma Bubble (EPB) occurrence has remained a significant challenge over recent decades. In this study we use the Thermosphere Ionosphere Electrodynamics General Circulation Model (TIEGCM), which is driven by solar (F10.7) and geomagnetic (Kp) activity indices, to study daily variations of the linear Rayleigh-Taylor (R-T) instability growth rate in relation to the measured scintillation strength at five longitudinally distributed stations. For locations characterized by generally favorable conditions for EPB growth (i.e., within the scintillation season for that location) we find that the TIEGCM is capable of identifying days when EPB development, determined from the calculated R-T growth rate, is suppressed as a result of geomagnetic activity. Both observed and modeled upward plasma drift indicate that the pre-reversal enhancement scales linearly with Kp from several hours prior, from which it is concluded that even small Kp changes cause significant variations in daily EPB growth. This control of Kp variations on EPB growth prompted an investigation into the use of predicted Kp values from the Wing Kp model over a 2-month equinoctial campaign in 2014. It is found that both the 1-hr and 4-hr predicted Kp values can be reliably used as inputs into the TIEGCM to forecast the EPB growth conditions during scintillation season, when daily EPB variability is governed by the suppression of EPBs on days with increased, but not necessarily high, geomagnetic activity.