Modeling of kinetic, ionospheric and auroral contributions to the 557.7-nm nightglow

Laurence Campbell, Michael Brunger

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    Emission of 557.7-nm radiation from the Earth's upper atmosphere is produced by kinetic, ionospheric and auroral excitation of oxygen atoms. The mechanisms and hence the relative contributions of these three sources are not fully understood. A ground-based mid-latitude recording of the 557.7-nm emissions over the previous solar cycle facilitates a comparison of measurements with theoretical predictions. In this paper the predicted kinetic and ionospheric contributions are simulated and compared with the observations. Semi-quantitative agreement is found between the kinetic contribution and the observations, particularly in the presence of annual, semi-annual and solar cycle variations. An observed enhancement in the emissions in the years following solar maximum is not predicted by the kinetic model. However, correlation analysis reveals a component in the observed values that is related to the auroral hemispheric power. When this extra component is included, a better fit to the pre-midnight observations over the full solar cycle is found.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL22104
    Number of pages4
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


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