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Journal of Geophysical Research





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With the incoherent scatter radar at Chatanika, Alaska, a wide variety of measurements can be made related to the ionosphere, magnetosphere, and neutral atmosphere. A significant parameter is the amount of energy transferred from the magnetosphere into the ionosphere and neutral atmosphere during periods of auroral activity. In this report we examine a procedure whereby the incident energy flux of auroral electrons is ascertained from radar measurements. As part of the process we compare radar-determined fluxes with those ascertained from simultaneous photometric observations at 4278 Å. The fluxes obtained by both techniques had similar magnitudes and time variations. If we assume that the largest uncertainty in the radar/photometer comparison is the effective recombination coefficient, then that coefficient can also be deduced. We find a value 3 × 10−7 cm³/s at about 105 km, which is in good agreement with other recent determinations during active auroral conditions. We then combine this technique with one to ascertain the Joule heating to determine the energy input from the magnetosphere to the ionosphere in a region localized above the radar on March 22, 1973, in the midnight sector. The energy input is continuous at a significant level, i.e., greater than the 3 ergs/cm² s that could be delivered by the sun, were it overhead. Moreover, at times, each of these inputs became as great as 30 ergs/cm² s.


Published by American Geophysical Union in Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics. Publisher PDF available for download through link above.

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