Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3065
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3065
03 Jan 2024
 | 03 Jan 2024

On the importance of middle atmosphere observations on ionospheric dynamics using WACCM-X and SAMI3

Fabrizio Sassi, Angeline Burrell, Sarah McDonald, Jennifer Tate, and John McCormack

Abstract. Recent advances in atmospheric observations and modelling have enabled the investigation of thermosphere-ionosphere interactions as a whole atmosphere problem. This study examines how dynamical variability in the middle atmosphere (MA) affects day-to-day changes in the thermosphere and ionosphere. Specifically, this study investigates ionosphere-thermosphere interactions during different time periods of January 2013 using the Specified Dynamics Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model, eXtended version (WACCM-X) coupled to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) ionosphere of the Sami3 is Another Model of the Ionosphere (SAMI3) model. To represent the weather of the day, the coupled thermosphere-ionosphere system is nudged below 90 km toward the atmospheric specifications provided by the Navy Global Environmental Model for High-Altitude (NAVGEM-HA). Hindcast simulations during January 2013 are carried out with the full data set of observations normally assimilated by NAVGEM-HA, and with a degraded dataset where observations above 40 km are not assimilated. Ionospheric regions with statistically significant changes are identified using key ionospheric properties, including the electron density, peak electron density, and height of the peak electron density. Ionospheric changes show a spatial structure that illustrates the impact of two different types of coupling between the thermosphere and the ionosphere: wind-dynamo coupling through electric conductivity and ion-neutral interactions in the upper thermosphere. The two simulations presented in this study show that changing the state of the MA affects ionosphere-thermosphere coupling through changes in the behavior and amplitude of non-migrating tides, resulting in improved key ionospheric specifications.

Fabrizio Sassi, Angeline Burrell, Sarah McDonald, Jennifer Tate, and John McCormack

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3065', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3065', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Feb 2024
Fabrizio Sassi, Angeline Burrell, Sarah McDonald, Jennifer Tate, and John McCormack
Fabrizio Sassi, Angeline Burrell, Sarah McDonald, Jennifer Tate, and John McCormack

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Short summary
This study shows how middle atmospheric data (starting at 40 km) affects day-to-day ionospheric variability. We do this by using lower atmospheric measurements that include and exclude the middle atmosphere in a coupled ionosphere-thermosphere model. Comparing the two simulations reveals differences in two thermosphere-ionosphere coupling mechanisms. Additionally, comparing against observations showed that including the middle atmospheric data improved the resulting ionosphere.