30 May 2022
30 May 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Responses of CIPS/AIM Noctilucent Clouds to the Interplanetary Magnetic Field

Liang Zhang1, Brian Tinsley2, and Limin Zhou3,4 Liang Zhang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, China
  • 2Physics Department, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, 75080, USA
  • 3Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200062, China
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Beijing, 100029, China

Abstract. This study investigates the link between the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) By component and the Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) measured by the Cloud Imaging and Particle Size (CIPS) experiment onboard the Aeronomy of ICE in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite. The mean ice particle radius in NLCs is found to be positively/negatively correlated with IMF By in the Southern/Northern Hemisphere (SH/NH), respectively, on a day-to-day time scale in most of the 20-summer seasons during the 2007–2017 period with a near 0-day lag time, and the response in the SH is stronger than that in the NH. Moreover, the albedo, ice water content, and frequency of occurrence of NLCs present positive correlation with IMF By in SH but no significant correlation in NH. The superposed epoch analysis (SEA) further indicates the rm on average changes by about 0.73 nm after IMF By reversals, which is significant at 90 % confidence level in Monte Carlo sensitivity tests. Our results suggest an IMF By-driven pathway: the influence of the solar wind on the polar ionospheric electric potential affects the microphysical processes in NLCs, and consequently the ice particle radius and NLC brightness.

Liang Zhang et al.

Status: open (until 11 Jul 2022)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-126', Anonymous Referee #2, 30 May 2022 reply

Liang Zhang et al.

Liang Zhang et al.


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Short summary
Both the day-to-day analysis and superposed epoch analysis of the noctilucent cloud (NLC) data revealed conspicuous correlations between NLCs and the solar wind magnetic fields, in both polar regions. The responses in Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere are opposite and the lag time is fairly short, these two features are beyond the explanations of previous proposed solar photodissociation origin or dynamic origin for the solar-NLC link, and a possible new mechanism is discussed.