Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Charles Swenson


Geomagnetic storms deposit energy and momentum into the Earth’s magnetosphere which in turn energizes the terrestrial atmosphere through Joule heating and particle precipitation. This storm energy predominantly converges at altitudes of 100 to 150 km, corresponding to the lower thermospheric region, which is then globally redistributed throughout the thermosphere. It is essential that we understand the times and magnitudes of this energy to understand the terrestrial atmospheric response to geomagnetic storms. However, our current knowledge is mostly limited to the studies of orbital altitudes of the thermosphere. We aim to fill this gap by conducting a statistical study of lower thermospheric response to geomagnetic storms. We use neutral temperature data from SABER (Sounding of the Atmosphere Using Broadband Emission Radiometry) instrument onboard the TIMED (Thermosphere, Ionosphere, and Mesosphere Energy Dynamics) satellite for this study.

We devise a procedure to extract the storm response from SABER temperature measurements and deduce the magnitudes and times of the global storm energy redistribution in the 100 to 120 km altitude of the thermosphere. We use methods of inferential and descriptive statistics to investigate the lower thermospheric response for 145 storm intervals that occurred between 2002 and 2010. We also investigate the performance of the state-ofart physics and empirical models in replicating the lower thermosphere during geomagnetic storms.