American Geophysical Union
Ionograms recorded with a dynasonde at Bear Lake Observatory, Utah, during moderate solar x-ray flares exhibit characteristic enhancements to the E and F 1 region ionosphere. However, during these same flares, the peak electron density of the ionosphere (N m F 2) unexpectedly decreases, recovering after the flare ends. In order to reconcile this anomalous behavior with expected increases to the total electron content (TEC), we undertake a modeling effort using the Time-Dependent Ionospheric Model (TDIM) developed at Utah State University. For solar input, a simple flare time irradiance model is created, using measurements from the Solar EUV Experiment instrument on the TIMED spacecraft. TDIM simulations show that the anomalous N m F 2 response can be explained by assuming a rapid electron temperature increase, which increases the O+ scale height, moving plasma to higher altitudes. The model results are able to reproduce both the decreasing N m F 2 as well as the expected TEC enhancement.
Smithtro, C. G., J. J. Sojka, T. Berkey, D. Thompson, and R. W. Schunk (2006), Anomalous F region response to moderate solar flares, Radio Sci., 41, RS5S03, doi:10.1029/2005RS003350.