Terrestrial agents in the realm of space storms: Missions study oxygen ions



Observations from two recent space missions, the Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorers (AMPTE) and the Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES), demonstrate that magnetospheric O+ ions originating in the ionosphere are important terrestrial agents in geospace. In other words, ionized oxygen escaping from the upper atmosphere can play a critical role in electromagnetic processes in near-Earth space.

The missions also demonstrated that the abundance of terrestrial plasma (O+ in particular) in the inner magnetosphere increases quickly, as a quick response of the ionosphere to enhanced geospace activity during magnetic storms and substorms [Daglis and Axford, 1996]. Furthermore, O+ becomes the dominant ion species during the main phase of great magnetic storms [Daglis, 1997]. Great magnetic storms are most remarkable global-scale processes, and they are of particular interest because they often have severe impacts on technological systems.