loading page

Thermospheric Temperature and Density Variability During 3 to 4 February 2022 Minor Geomagnetic Storm: The SpaceX Satellite Loss Event
  • +8
  • Fazlul I Laskar,
  • Eric K Sutton,
  • Dong Lin,
  • Katelynn R Greer,
  • Saurav Aryal,
  • Xuguang Cai,
  • Nicholas Michael Pedatella,
  • Richard W Eastes,
  • Wenbin Wang,
  • Mihail V. Codrescu,
  • William E. McClintock
Fazlul I Laskar
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Corresponding Author:fazlul.laskar@lasp.colorado.edu

Author Profile
Eric K Sutton
University of Colorado at Boulder
Author Profile
Dong Lin
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Author Profile
Katelynn R Greer
University of Colorado Boulder
Author Profile
Saurav Aryal
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Author Profile
Xuguang Cai
U of colorado, Boulder
Author Profile
Nicholas Michael Pedatella
National Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Author Profile
Richard W Eastes
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Author Profile
Wenbin Wang
Author Profile
Mihail V. Codrescu
Space Weather Prediction Center, National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
Author Profile
William E. McClintock
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
Author Profile


Themospheric conditions during a minor geomagnetic event of 3 and 4 February 2022 has been investigated using disk temperature (T$_{disk}$) observations from Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission and model simulations. GOLD observed that the T$_{disk}$ increases by more than 60 K during the storm event when compared with pre-storm quiet days. A comparison of the T$_{disk}$ with effective temperatures (i.e., a weighted average based on airglow emission layer) from Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter radar version 2 (MSIS2) and Multiscale Atmosphere-Geospace Environment (MAGE) models shows that MAGE outperforms MSIS2 during this particular event. MAGE underestimates the T$_{eff}$ by about 2\%, whereas MSIS2 underestimates it by 7\%. As temperature enhancements lead to an expansion of the thermosphere and resulting density changes, the value of the temperature enhancement observed by GOLD can be utilized to find a GOLD equivalent MSIS2 (GOLD-MSIS) simulation $\textendash$ from a set of MSIS2 runs obtained by varying geomagnetic ap index values. From the MSIS2 runs we find that an ap value of 116 nT produces a T$_{eff}$ perturbation that matches with the GOLD T$_{disk}$ enhancement. Note that during this storm the highest value of the 3 hr cadence ap was 56 nT. From the MSIS-GOLD run we found that the thermospheric density enhancement varies with altitude from 15\% (at 150 km) to 80\% (at 500 km). Independent simulations from the MAGE model also show a comparable enhancement in neutral density. These results suggest that even a modest storm could impact the thermospheric densities significantly.