New aspects of thermospheric and ionospheric storms revealed by CHAMP

N. Balan, M. Yamamoto, J. Y. Liu, Y. Otsuka, H. Liu, H. Lühr

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52 Citations (Scopus)


The neutral mass density N and electron density Ne at 400 km height measured by CHAMP during nine intense geomagnetic storms bring out some new aspects of the thermospheric and ionospheric storms. The thermospheric storms (increase of N) develop with the onset of the main phases (MP) of the geomagnetic storms and reach their peak phases before or by the end of the MPs. The ionospheric storms (change of Ne) in general undergo an initial negative phase (with the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crests shifting poleward) before turning positive, and the positive storms reach their peak strengths (or phases) centered at 25-30 magnetic latitudes; in some (4) cases the positive storms develop without an initial negative phase and with the EIA crests shifting equatorward; in all cases the positive storms reach their peak phases before the end of the MPs and turn to conventional negative storms by the end of the MPs. The observations agree with the different aspects of a physical mechanism of the positive storms. The observations also reveal that the Halloween storms of 30 October 2003 with a short MP without fluctuations produced the strongest positive ionospheric storms through impulsive response, and there is strong equinoctial asymmetry in the ionosphere and thermosphere during geomagnetic storms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA07305
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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