University of Oulu

Asikainen, T., & Ruopsa, M. ( 2019). New homogeneous composite of energetic electron fluxes from POES satellites: 1. Correction for background noise and orbital drift. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 124, 1203–1221.

New homogeneous composite of energetic electron fluxes from POES satellites : 1. Correction for background noise and orbital drift

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Author: Asikainen, Timo1; Ruopsa, Miro1
Organizations: 1ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence, Space Climate Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Geophysical Union, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-04-23


One of the most popular long‐term data sets of energetic particles used in, for example, long‐term radiation belt studies and in atmospheric/climate studies is perhaps the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) data set, which extends nearly continuously from 1979 to present. The energetic particle measurements by the Medium Energy Proton and Electron Detector instrument onboard the POES satellites have had many instrumental problems, which have made quantitative estimates of energetic particle fluxes somewhat difficult. However, in the recent years, these instrumental deficiencies have been studied and corrected. Here we aim to construct a new long‐term composite record of energetic electrons based on the Medium Energy Proton and Electron Detector data. In this study we point out that there are also other remaining factors, not related to instrument construction, which still severely impact the overall homogeneity of the 39‐year POES data set. We concentrate here on studying and correcting two issues: (1) temporally varying background noise related to cosmic rays and (2) drift in the orientation of satellite orbital planes, which changes the sampling location of the satellites over time. In particular, we show that the drift of satellite orbital planes leads to rather large changes in the electron fluxes over time, which could be misinterpreted as true temporal changes without the corrections. These changes can be rather large, a factor of 3 or more in the poleward edge of the precipitation zone, and are likely to have a large impact, for example, on atmospheric ionization estimates based on POES data.

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Series: Journal of geophysical research. Space physics
ISSN: 2169-9380
ISSN-E: 2169-9402
ISSN-L: 2169-9380
Volume: 142
Issue: 2
Pages: 1203 - 1221
DOI: 10.1029/2018JA026214
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: We acknowledge the financial support by the Academy of Finland to the ReSoLVE Center of Excellence (project 272157) and to projects 257403 and 292712.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 272157
Detailed Information: 272157 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
257403 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
292712 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright (2019) American Geophysical Union.