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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 23, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 23, 2051–2068, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-23-2051-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 23, 2051–2068, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-23-2051-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  15 Sep 2005

15 Sep 2005

Assessment of ionospheric Joule heating by GUMICS-4 MHD simulation, AMIE, and satellite-based statistics: towards a synthesis

M. Palmroth1, P. Janhunen1, T. I. Pulkkinen1, A. Aksnes2, G. Lu3, N. Østgaard2, J. Watermann4, G. D. Reeves5, and G. A. Germany6 M. Palmroth et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Space Research Division, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2University of Bergen, Department of Physics and Technology, Bergen, Norway
  • 3High Latitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Danish Meteorological Institute, Atmosphere Space Research Division, Farum, Denmark
  • 5Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
  • 6Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomy Research, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL, USA

Abstract. We investigate the Northern Hemisphere Joule heating from several observational and computational sources with the purpose of calibrating a previously identified functional dependence between solar wind parameters and ionospheric total energy consumption computed from a global magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation (Grand Unified Magnetosphere Ionosphere Coupling Simulation, GUMICS-4). In this paper, the calibration focuses on determining the amount and temporal characteristics of Northern Hemisphere Joule heating. Joule heating during a substorm is estimated from global observations, including electric fields provided by Super Dual Auroral Network (SuperDARN) and Pedersen conductances given by the ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray imagers on board the Polar satellite. Furthermore, Joule heating is assessed from several activity index proxies, large statistical surveys, assimilative data methods (AMIE), and the global MHD simulation GUMICS-4. We show that the temporal and spatial variation of the Joule heating computed from the GUMICS-4 simulation is consistent with observational and statistical methods. However, the different observational methods do not give a consistent estimate for the magnitude of the global Joule heating. We suggest that multiplying the GUMICS-4 total Joule heating by a factor of 10 approximates the observed Joule heating reasonably well. The lesser amount of Joule heating in GUMICS-4 is essentially caused by weaker Region 2 currents and polar cap potentials. We also show by theoretical arguments that multiplying independent measurements of averaged electric fields and Pedersen conductances yields an overestimation of Joule heating.

Keywords. Ionosphere (Auroral ionosphere; Modeling and forecasting; Electric fields and currents)

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