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Keywords:

  • mesosphere;
  • nitric oxide;
  • ozone;
  • particle precipitation

[1] Using a ground-based microwave radiometer at Troll Station, Antarctica (72°S, 2.5°E,L = 4.76), we have observed a decrease of 20–70% in the mesospheric ozone, coincident with increased nitric oxide, between 60 km and 75 km altitude associated with energetic electron precipitation (E > 30 keV) during a moderate geomagnetic storm (minimum Dst of −79 nT) in late July 2009. NOAA satellite data were used to identify the precipitating particles and to characterize their energy, spatial distribution and temporal variation over Antarctica during this isolated storm. Both the ozone decrease and nitric oxide increase initiate with the onset of the storm, and persist for several days after the precipitation ends, descending in the downward flow of the polar vortex. These combined data present a unique case study of the temporal and spatial morphology of chemical changes induced by electron precipitation during moderate geomagnetic storms, indicating that these commonplace events can cause significant effects on the middle mesospheric ozone distribution.