Contribution of charge exchange loss to the storm time ring current decay: IMAGE/HENA observations



[1] The present study addresses the contribution of charge exchange loss of the ring current ions to the decay of the storm time ring current, based on measurements of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) made by the High Energy Neutral Atom (HENA) imager on board the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) satellite. The energy range of ENA fluxes examined in the present study is from 27 to 119 keV for hydrogen and from 79 to 264 keV for oxygen. This is the first statistical estimate of the charge exchange contribution made with dedicated measurements of both neutral hydrogen and oxygen. We estimate charge exchange energy losses of the ring current ions, employing two independent methods. The decay rate of the ring current is derived from the temporal variations of the Dst index. Our estimates show that the rate of the charge exchange energy losses is comparable to the ring current decay rate for the intervals of the slow decay, while the loss rate is much smaller than the decay rate in the rapid decay phase in particular for the early stage of a storm recovery. The logarithm of the energy loss rate is well correlated with the simultaneous Dst index, increasing as Dst decreases. Utilizing the high correlations, we simulate a Dst recovery due to charge exchange loss alone. Pressure-corrected Dst (Dst0) recoveries derived from measured Dst cannot be reproduced by charge exchange loss alone. We conclude that the charge exchange loss is not primarily responsible for the rapid decay of the storm time ring current.