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Ionosphere and Neutral Atmosphere

Temperature

and density structure

Hydrogen escape
Thermospheric
variations and
satellite drag
Mean wind structure

Tropo
(Greek: tropos);
change
Lots of weather
Strato
(Latin: stratum);
Layered
Meso
(Greek: messos);
Middle
Thermo
(Greek: thermes);
Heat
Exo
(greek: exo);
outside

Variation of the density in an


atmosphere with constant
temperature (750 K).

Photon energy
E=h
Wavelength
=c/
Ionization energy of
~4 eV
corresponds to
wavelength of ~300 nm
h=6.623x10-34 Js
eV=1.602x10-19J
c=2.998x108 m/s

The radiation from the Sun at short wave lengths causes photo
ionization of the atmosphere resulting in a partially ionized region
called the ionosphere.
Guglielmo Marconis demonstration of long distance radio
communication in 1901 started studies of the ionosphere.
Arthur Kennelly and Oliver Heaviside independently in 1902
postulated an ionized atmosphere to account for radio transmissions.
(Kennelly-Heavyside layer is now called the E-layer).
Larmor (1924) developed a theory of reflection of radio waves from
an ionized region.
Breit and Tuve in 1926 developed a method for probing the
ionosphere by measuring the round-trip for reflected radio waves.

The ionosphere vertical density pattern shows a strong


diurnal variation and a solar cycle variation.
Identification of ionospheric layers is related to inflection
points in the vertical density profile.
Region

Primary Ionospheric Regions


Altitude
Peak
Density

60-90 km

90-140 km

F1

140-200 km

200 km Several 1011-1012 m-3

F2

200-500 km

300 km Several x 1012 m-3

Topside

above F2

90 km 108 1010 m-3


110 km Several x 1011 m-3

Diurnal and solar cycle


variation in the ionospheric
density profile.
In general densities are
larger during solar maximum
than during solar minimum.
The D and F1 regions
disappear at night.
The E and F2 regions
become much weaker.
The topside ionosphere is
basically an extension of the
magnetosphere.

Composition of the dayside ionosphere


under solar minimum conditions.
At low altitudes the major ions are O2+ and
NO+
Near the F2 peak it changes to O+
The topside ionosphere becomes H+
dominant.

For practical purposes the ionosphere can be


thought of as quasi-neutral (the net charge is
practically zero in each volume element with
enough particles).
The ionosphere is formed by ionization of
the three main atmospheric constituents N2,
O2, and O.
The primary ionization mechanism is
photoionization by extreme ultraviolet
(EUV) and X-ray radiation.
In some areas ionization by particle
precipitation is also important.

The ionization process is


followed by a series of
chemical reactions
Recombination removes free
charges and transforms the
ions to neutral particles.

Neutral density exceeds the ion density


below about 500 km.

Let the photon flux per unit frequency be

The change in
the flux due to absorption by
the neutral gas ina distance ds is
where n(z) is the neutral gas concentration,
is the frequency dependent photo absorption
cross section, and ds
d
isthe
path
nlength
ds
element in the direction of the optical
radiation. (Assuming there are no local
sources or sinks of ionizing
radiation.)

(where is the zenith angle of


the incoming solar radiation.
The altitude dependence of the solar radiation
flux becomes

ds sec dz

where
is the incident photon
intensity per unit frequency.

( z ) exp sec n( z ' )dz '


z

sec n( z ' ) dz ' is called the


z

optical depth.

There is usually more than one


atmospheric constituent attenuating the
photons each of which has its own cross
section.

sec t n( z ' )dz '


t

( z ) exp( )

The density (ns) of the neutral upper


atmosphere usually obeys a hydrostatic
equation

For multiple species

dp
d (nkT )
nmg

where m is the molecular


or dz
atomic mass, g is
dz

The optical depth increases


exponentially with decreasing
altitude.
In the thermosphere solar radiation is
absorbed mainly via ionization
processes. Let us assume that

the acceleration due to gravity, z is the altitude


and p=nkT is the thermal pressure.
If the temperature T is assumed independent of
z, this equation has the exponential solution

sec t nt ( z ) H t
t

where
is the scale height of the
gas, and n0 is the density at the reference
altitude z0.
( z z0 )
For this case

n n0 exp

H kT mg

Each absorbed photon creates a new


electron-ion pair therefore the
electron production is
Si ds n vi ( z )ds
where Si is the total electron
production rate (particles cm-3s-1).

z ' z0
sec n0 exp
dz ' sec n( z ) H

Substituting for n and

gives
(z )

z z0
z z0
S i n0 i exp
sec i Hn0 exp
H
H

The altitude of maximum ionization can


be obtained by looking for extremes in

this equation by calculating

This gives dS
i

dz

Choose z0 as the altitude of maximum


ionization
perpendicular solar
sec for
i Hn( z max ) ( z max ) 1
radiation

The maximum rate of ionization is


given by

S max S 0 cos

If we further assume that the main loss


process is ion-electron recombination
with a coefficient and assume that the

recombination rate is

This gives

z0 z max

where S e 1
0
H
This is the Chapman ionization
function.

Finally if we assume local equilibrium


2

n
e get
between production and loss we

z
z
Si S 0 exp 1 sec exp
H
H

Si ne2

The vertical profile in a simple


Chapman layer is
ne

1
S0
z
sec
z
exp

exp

2
H
2 2H

The E and F1 regions are essentially


Chapman layers while additional
production, transport and loss
processes are necessary to
understand the D and F2 regions.

At 80-100 km, the time constant for mixing is more efficient than
recombination, so mixing due to turbulence and other dynamical
processes must be taken into account (i.e., photochemical
equilibrium does not hold).

Mixing transports
O down to lower
(denser) levels
where recombination proceeds
rapidly (the "sink"
for O).
O Concentration

After the O recombines to produce O2, the O2 is transported upward


by turbulent diffusion to be photodissociated once again (the
"source" for O).

The D Region
The most complex and least understood layer in the ionosphere.
The primary source of ionization in the D region is ionization by solar X-rays and Lymanionization of the NO molecule.
Precipitating magnetospheric electrons
may also be important.
The primary positive ions are O2+ and NO+
The most common negative ion is NO3 The E Region
Essentially a Chapman layer formed by EUV ionization.
The main ions are O2+ and NO+
Although nitrogen (N2) molecules are the most common in the atmosphere N 2+ is not
common because it is unstable to charge exchange. For example

Oxygen ions are removed by the following reactions

N 2 O2 O2 N 2
N 2 O NO N

N 2 O O N 2
O N 2 NO N
O O2 O2 O

The F1 Region
Essentially a Chapman layer.
The ionizing radiation is EUV at <91nm.
It is basically absorbed in this region and does not penetrate into the E
region.
The principal initial ion is O+.
O+ recombines in a two step process.
First atom ion interchange takes place
O N 2 NO N
O O2 O2 O

This is followed by dissociative recombination of O2+ and NO+

O2 e O O
NO e N O

The F2 Region
The major ion is O+.
This region cannot be a Chapman layer since the atmosphere above the F 1 region optically thin to
most ionizing radiation.
This region is formed by an interplay between ion sources, sinks and ambipolar diffusion.
The dominant ionization source is photoionization of atomic oxygen

The oxygen ions are lost by a two step process


First atom-ion interchange

O h O e

Dissociative recombination
O O2 O2 O

The peak forms because the loss rateOfalls


more rapidly than the production rate.
Noff
2 NO N
The density falls off at higher altitudes because of diffusion- no longer in local photochemical
equilibrium.

O2 e O O
NO e N O

Radio Sounding
What is radio sounding
Remote sensing with radio waves

Earth space physics applications


Ionosphere
Magnetosphere

19

Ionosonde Field of View and ISR Radar Pencil


Beam

Specular Reflection and


Scatter

Radio Sounding:
specular reflection
wide beam
Scatter Radar:
Scatter, pencil beam
Ionosonde

Radio Sounding Principles


Waves in a plasma experience reflection and refraction
Radio waves are reflected at wave cutoffs (n = 0)
Echoes are received if the gradient at the reflection point is
normal to the incident signals.
The echo frequency gives the plasma conditions of the reflection
point, and the time delay gives the distance of reflection point.
From a seriesn>0
of sounding
frequencies, a density profile can be
Refractedrays
n=0
obtained n<0
SOUNDER
Echo
Reflected ray

Refractedrays

Principles of Radio Sounding

Radio waves are reflected at wave cutoffs (n = 0)


In a cold, magnetized plasma the cutoff frequencies are
Ionic or ordinary (O-mode): Wave frequency = fp
f
Extraordinary (X-mode): Wave frequency =

f
g
g


2
2

2
p

Echo from reflections perpendicular to density contours (at


reflection point)
n>0
n=0

Refractedrays

n<0

Echo

Use crossed-dipole antennas


to identify O and X waves
Refractedrays
22

Sounding Tools

RCV ANTENNA

DPS 4

RC
VA
RR
AY

XMT ANTENNA

ionospheric ground-based sounding

23

Ionogram and Plasma Density


Inversion

Electron density profile

24

Ne(h,t) at the Magnetic Equator


Cachimbo 16 October 2002

noon

midnight
25

Ionospheric Drift Measurements


Fourier analysis for Doppler spectra
Interferometry with spaced receive antennas

Interferometric Doppler Imaging


The digisonde, operating in the skymap/drift mode, is designed to measure the
drift velocity components on a routine basis. In this mode the ionosonde sounds at
one or more fixed frequencies and receives and records the reflected signal from
each antenna separately.

This technique depends on the presence of ionospheric structures that are


embedded in the background plasma.
27

Digisonde Skymaps:
Reflections and Doppler Shifts

28

Real Time Digisonde F-Region Drift Measurements

29

IMAGE Spacecraft
20-m dipole along z

500-m dipoles in spin plane

Launched 25 Mar 2000

RPI:
<10 W radiated power
3 kHz 3 MHz
300 Hz bandwidth 30

RPI

IMAGE Instrument Deck

31

RPI on IMAGE
Electronics Unit

32

33

Sounding in Magnetosphere

Field-Aligned Propagation
RPI Plasmagram
Fig 2 of GRL paper

34

(Reinisch et al., GRL, 2002)

Plasma Density Along Field line

35

One Pass of IMAGE on June 8, 2001


1.5

L=3.23

IMAGE trajectory
1.0

20:36:57UT

L=2.22
0.5

0.0

20:58:56UT
-0.5

-1.0

-1.5

36

Two dimensional density distribution


for MLT=8.0 on June 8, 2001

37

Plasmasphere Depleting and Refilling


Storm
DST

full
full

depleted

Lppstorm
full
38

Before Storm

Partial Recovery

Storm Peak

Identified plasmasphere, plasma trough, density depletion,


aurora/cusp, and polar cap
The densities and the locations of these regions vary in
accordance with the different solar wind/IMF conditions,
not correlated with the Dst variations

39

Before Storm

Partial Recovery

Storm Peak

Acceleration regions
40

Ionospheric Topside Sounding

TOPAS
TOPside Automated Sounder
Ionosphere

Disturbance
Tx

TOPAS

Vertical
Echo
Disturbance

41

TOPAS : Topside Plasma Radar

42

Dual-Frequency

Precision Ranging
Swarm spacecraft configuration
for precision interferometry
-- 0.1 W transmissions from each s/c
-- Each s/c transmits its own frequency
-- Each s/c receives all frequencies

Swarm performs as a multi-antenna


interferometer for precision angle-of-arrival
measurements --High resolution interferometry for detection of radio transmitters
43

Magnetospheric Tomography
A 7-satellite constellation
Each satellite transmits and receives
signals
Tomography methods are used to infer
the plasma density distribution within the
constellation

44

Digisonde Network

The dense regions of the ionosphere (the D, E and F regions) contain


concentrations of free electrons and ions. These mobile charges make the
ionosphere highly conducting.
Electrical currents can be generated in the ionosphere.
The ionosphere is collisional. Assume that it has an electric field but for
now no magnetic field. The ion and electron equations of motion will be

qE mi in ui

is the ion neutral collision


frequency
and
eE me enue

where
neutralcollision frequency.
in

is the electron
en

For this simple case the current will be related to electric field by
where
is a scalar conductivity .

j 0E

If there is amagnetic field there are magnetic field terms in the momentum
0
equation. In a coordinate system with along the z-axis the conductivity
becomes a tensor.

B
P

H
0

P
0

Specific conductivity along the magnetic field

1
1

m
i i
e e

0 e 2 ne

Pedersen conductivity in the direction of the applied electric field

e
1
i
1

2
2
2
2

m
e
e
i
i
i
e

P e 2 ne

Hall conductivity in the direction perpendicular to the applied field

e
1
i
1

2
2
2
2
e e me i i mi

H e 2 ne

where e and i are the total electron and ion momentum transfer
collision frequencies and e and i are the electron and ion
gyrofrequencies.
The Hall conductivity is important only in the D and E regions.
The specific conductivity is very important for magnetosphere and
ionosphere physics. If 0 all field lines would be equipotentials.
is

The total current density


ionosphere

in the
B E
j 0E PE H

Within the high latitude magnetosphere (auroral zone and polar cap)
plasmas undergo a circulation cycle.
At the highest latitudes the geomagnetic field lines are open in that only
one end is connected to the Earth.
Ionospheric plasma expands freely in the flux tube as if the outer
boundary condition was zero pressure.
For H+ and He+ plasma enters the flux tube at a rate limited by the source.
The net result is a flux of low density supersonic cold light ions into the lobes.
The surprising part is that comparable O+ fluxes also are observed.

Vertical distribution of density and temperature for high solar activity (F10.7 = 250) at noon (1)
and midnight (2), and for low solar activity (F10.7 = 75) at noon (3) and midnight (4) according to
the COSPAR International Reference Atmosphere (CIRA) 1965.

Atmospheric Compositions Compared

The atmospheres
of Earth, Venus and
Mars contain many
of the same gases,
but in very different
absolute and
relative abundances.
Some values are
lower limits only,
reflecting the past
escape of gas to
space and other
factors.

Average Temperature Profiles


for Earth, Mars & Venus

Mars

Venus

night
day

Venus

Earth

Formation of Ionospheres
Photo ionization: If h I M
h M M e E photoelectron

In the terrestrial ionosphere:


h N 2 N 2 e E photoelectron
h O2 O e E photoelectron

h O O e E photoelectron

( I M 10 to 20 eV )

HYDROSTATIC EQUILIBRIUM
If ..
n = # molecules per unit volume

P + dP

m = mass of each particle


nm dh = total mass contained in
a cylinder of air (of unit
cross-sectional area)
Then, the force due to gravity on
the cylindrical mass = g nmdh

dP

nmgdh

and the difference in pressure


between the lower and upper
faces of the cylinder balances
the above force in an equilibrium
situation:

P dP P nmgdh

dP
nmg
dh

Assuming the ideal gas law holds,

P nkT RT

R*
R
m

Then the previous expression may be written:

1 dP
1

P dh
H

where H is called the scale height


and

kT
RT
H

mg
g

g g(0)

R2
E

RE h2

This is the so-called hydrostatic law or barometric law.


Integrating,

PPe
0

where

z dh
z
0H

and z is referred to as the "reduced height" and the subscript zero


refers to a reference height at h=0.

To z
nn
e
o T

Similarly,

For an isothermal atmosphere, then,

nn e
o

o e

PPe
o

Exponential decrease of photon flux


At top of atmosphere F F .
dF nn F ds F nn dz sec
The photoabsorption cross section 10 17 cm 2 10 13 m 2

F z F exp sec nn dz F e ,
z

where z sec nn z dz
z

The production rate at height z is


P ( z ) nn F z F nn z e

In an isothermal atmosphere, if we assume equilibrium ,


i.e. production Pe = loss L e , and Le kd ne2 :
1

ne z ne zm exp 1 sec e
2

z zm

Hn

Chapman 1932

zm is the height of maximum production ( 1).

Absorption of Solar Radiation vs. Height and Species