Dynamics of North American sector ionospheric and thermospheric response during the November 2004 superstorm

P. J. Erickson, L. P. Goncharenko, M. J. Nicolls, M. Ruohoniemi, M. C. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We present a study of ionospheric and thermospheric response during a November 9-10, 2004 major geomagnetic storm event (DsT ∼-300 nT). We utilize the North American sector longitude chain of incoherent scatter radars at Arecibo, Millstone Hill, and Sondrestrom, operating as part of a coordinated international mesosphere/lower thermosphere coupling study experiment. Total electron content (TEC) determinations from global positioning system (GPS) ground receivers, ground magnetometer traces from the Canadian CANOPUS array, Defense Meteorological Satellite Platform (DMSP) topside data, and global convection patterns from the SuperDARN radar network are analyzed to place the detailed radar data in proper mesoscale context. The plasmaspheric boundary layer (PBL) expanded greatly in the dusk sector during ring current intensification to span more than 25° of magnetic latitude, reaching as far south as 30° invariant latitude. Strong sub-auroral polarization stream velocities of more than 1 km/s were accompanied by large upwards thermal O+ fluxes to the overlying magnetosphere. The large PBL expansion subsequently exposed both Millstone Hill and Sondrestrom to the auroral convection pattern, which developed a complex multicell and reverse convection response under strongly northward IMF conditions during a period of global interplanetary electric field penetration. Large traveling atmospheric and ionospheric disturbances caused significant neutral wind and ion velocity surges in the mid-latitude and tropical ionosphere and thermosphere, with substorm activity launching equatorward neutral wind enhancements and subsequent mid-latitude dynamo responses at Millstone Hill. However, ionosphere and thermosphere observations at Arecibo point to significant disturbance propagation modification in the post-dusk sector PBL region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamics of North American sector ionospheric and thermospheric response during the November 2004 superstorm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this