TIME-VARIATIONS OF D-REGION ELECTRON DENSITIES, AND COMPARISONS WITH MODEL COMPUTATIONS

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Abstract

Summary

An extensive series of incoherent scatter studies of the ionospheric D-region was carried out at the Arecibo radar facility during 1978 and 1979. They included several full-day sequences of electron density measurements over a range of altitudes, and also included a sequence during the serendipitous occurrence of a large solar flare. For the solar flare event simultaneous data on solar X-ray fluxes in several wavelength bands were available from the GOES-2 and ISEE-3 satellites.

In the course of development of a large ionospheric computer model at Los Alamos we have used the solar flare data as a reality check. The solar X-ray flux data were used as inputs for computing ionization rates. The model computer includes 999 chemical reactions, and also includes diffusion and transport processes. In the course of the flare studies we used the data comparisons to adjust the values of three chemical rate coefficients that were poorly known. With those adjustments the model computations fitted the data quite well.

Subsequent to the flare analysis we have been using the same model with some minor updates to compute the expected diurnal variations of the ambient D-region under conditions chosen to match those existing at the times of the incoherent scatter measurements. Comparisons of the computations and the data will be shown, and the relative importance of the several separate ionization processes will be discussed. We also compare model results with experimental data on concentrations of NO.

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