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Pulsations in the Earth's Lower Ionosphere Synchronized with Solar Flare Emission View all abstracts by submitter

Laura Hayes   Submitted: 2017-10-09 03:09

Solar flare emission at X-ray and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) energies can cause substantial enhancements in the electron density in the Earth's lower ionosphere. It has now become clear that flares exhibit quasi-periodic pulsations with timescales of minutes at X-ray energies, but to date, it has not been known if the ionosphere is sensitive to this variability. Here, using a combination of Very Low Frequency (24 kHz) measurement together with space-based X-ray and EUV observations, we report pulsations of the ionospheric D-region, which are synchronized with a set of pulsating flare loops. Modeling of the ionosphere show that the D-region electron density varies by up to an order of magnitude over the timescale of the pulsations (~ 20 mins). Our results reveal that the Earth's ionosphere is more sensitive to small-scale changes in solar soft X-ray flux than previously thought, and implies that planetary ionospheres are closely coupled to small-scale changes in solar/stellar activity.

Authors: Laura A. Hayes, Peter T. Gallagher, Joseph McCauley, Brian R. Dennis, Jack Ireland, Andrew Inglis
Projects: None

Publication Status: Accepted JGR Space Physics
Last Modified: 2017-10-09 15:58
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