Effects of geomagnetic activity on the mesospheric electric fields
The results of three series of rocket measurements of mesospheric electric fields carried out under different geomagnetic conditions at polar and high middle latitudes are analysed. The measurements show a clear dependence of the vertical electric fields on geomagnetic activity at polar and high middle latitudes. The vertical electric fields in the lower mesosphere increase with the increase of geomagnetic indexes Kp and ∑Kp. The simultaneous increase of the vertical electric field strength and ion conductivity was observed in the mesosphere during geomagnetic disturbances. This striking phenomenon was displayed most clearly during the solar proton events of October, 1989 accompanied by very strong geomagnetic storm (Kp = 8+). A possible mechanism of generation of the vertical electric fields in the mesosphere caused by gravitational sedimentation of charged aerosol particles is discussed. Simultaneous existence in the mesosphere of both the negative and positive multiply charged aerosol particles of different sizes is assumed for explanation of the observed V/m vertical electric fields and their behaviour under geomagnetically disturbed conditions.
Key wordsAtmospheric composition and structure (aerosols and particles) Ionosphere (electric fields and currents) Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (atmospheric electricity)
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