The atmospheric implications of radiation belt remediation C. J. Rodger1, M. A. Clilverd2, Th. Ulich3, P. T. Verronen4, E. Turunen3, and N. R. Thomson1 1Department of Physics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand 2Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK 3Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Sodankylä, Finland 4Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. High altitude nuclear explosions (HANEs) and geomagnetic
storms can produce large scale injections of relativistic particles into the
inner radiation belts. It is recognised that these large increases in
>1 MeV trapped electron fluxes can shorten the operational lifetime of low
Earth orbiting satellites, threatening a large, valuable population.
Therefore, studies are being undertaken to bring about practical human
control of the radiation belts, termed "Radiation Belt Remediation" (RBR).
Here we consider the upper atmospheric consequences of an RBR system
operating over either 1 or 10 days. The RBR-forced neutral chemistry
changes, leading to NOx enhancements and Ox depletions, are
significant during the timescale of the precipitation but are generally not
long-lasting. The magnitudes, time-scales, and altitudes of these changes
are no more significant than those observed during large solar proton
events. In contrast, RBR-operation will lead to unusually intense HF
blackouts for about the first half of the operation time, producing large
scale disruptions to radio communication and navigation systems. While the
neutral atmosphere changes are not particularly important, HF disruptions
could be an important area for policy makers to consider, particularly for
the remediation of natural injections.
Citation: Rodger, C. J., Clilverd, M. A., Ulich, Th., Verronen, P. T., Turunen, E., and Thomson, N. R.: The atmospheric implications of radiation belt remediation, Ann. Geophys., 24, 2025-2041, doi:10.5194/angeo-24-2025-2006, 2006.