Height-integrated Pedersen and Hall conductivity patterns inferred from the TIROS-NOAA satellite data


  • T. J. Fuller-Rowell,

  • D. S. Evans


The series of polar-orbiting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spacecraft TIROS, NOAA 6, and NOAA 7 have been monitoring the particle influx into the atmosphere since late 1978. This data base has been used to construct statistical global patterns of height-integrated Pedersen and Hall conductivities for a discrete set of auroral activity ranges. The observations of energy influx and “characteristic electron energy” have been binned in a 1° latitude and 2° magnetic local time grid and ordered by an auroral activity index. This index is an estimate of the energy deposited into a single hemisphere by incident particles, a parameter generated directly from the particle observations and, therefore, internally consistent with the statistical patterns that are constructed. An average electron spectrum is associated with each characteristic energy, which enables a height profile of ionization rate in the upper atmosphere to be determined. The use of a pressure coordinate system insures that the normalized ionization rate profiles are independent of atmospheric model parameters. To create the statistical pattern of height-integrated conductivities, however, vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and composition are assumed, and the ion density enhancements are evaluated from a chemical balance between ion production and recombination based on an “effective” recombination coefficient. The data base can also provide the statistical pattern of particle heating rates and ionization rates over a three-dimensional grid suitable as input to more sophisticated ionospheric and neutral thermospheric codes.