Theoretically modeling the low-latitude, ionospheric response to large geomagnetic storms



[1] In the low-latitude, ionospheric F region, the primary transport mechanism that determines the electron and ion density distributions is the magnitude of the daytime, upward E × B drift velocity. During large geomagnetic storms, penetration of high-latitude electric fields to low latitudes can often produce daytime, vertical E × B drift velocities in excess of 50 m/s. Employing a recently developed technique, we can infer these daytime, upward E × B drift velocities from ground-based magnetometer observations at Jicamarca and Piura, Peru, as a function of local time (0700–1700 LT). We study the ionospheric response in the Peruvian longitude sector to these large upward drifts by theoretically calculating electron and ion densities as a function of altitude, latitude, and local time using the time-dependent Low-Latitude Ionospheric Sector (LLIONS) model. This is a single-sector ionosphere model capable of incorporating data-determined drivers, such as E × B drift velocities. For this study, we choose three large storms in 2003 (29 and 30 October and 20 November) when daytime E × B drift velocities approached or exceeded 50 m/s. Initial results indicate that the large, upward E × B drift velocities on 29 October produced equatorial anomaly crests in ionization at ±20° dip latitude rather than the usual ±16° dip latitude. We compare the theoretically calculated results with a variety of ground-based and satellite observations for these three periods and discuss the implications of these comparisons as they relate to the capabilities of current theoretical models and our ability to infer ionospheric drivers such as E × B drifts (Anderson et al., 2002).