University of Oulu

Mironova, I., Sinnhuber, M., Bazilevskaya, G., Clilverd, M., Funke, B., Makhmutov, V., Rozanov, E., Santee, M. L., Sukhodolov, T., and Ulich, T.: Exceptional middle latitude electron precipitation detected by balloon observations: implications for atmospheric composition, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22, 6703–6716,, 2022

Exceptional middle latitude electron precipitation detected by balloon observations : implications for atmospheric composition

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Author: Mironova, Irina1; Sinnhuber, Miriam2; Bazilevskaya, Galina3;
Organizations: 1Earth Physics Department, Faculty of Physics, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia
2Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
3Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
4British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom
5Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, CSIC, Granada, Spain
6Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia
7PMOD/WRC and IAC ETHZ, Davos, Switzerland
8Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA USA
9Institute of Meteorology and Climatology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
10Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Sodankylä, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Copernicus Publications, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-11-30


Energetic particle precipitation leads to ionization in the Earth’s atmosphere, initiating the formation of active chemical species which destroy ozone and have the potential to impact atmospheric composition and dynamics down to the troposphere. We report on one exceptionally strong high-energy electron precipitation event detected by balloon measurements in geomagnetic midlatitudes on 14 December 2009, with ionization rates locally comparable to strong solar proton events. This electron precipitation was possibly caused by wave–particle interactions in the slot region between the inner and outer radiation belts, connected with still poorly understood natural phenomena in the magnetosphere. Satellite observations of odd nitrogen and nitric acid are consistent with widespread electron precipitation into magnetic midlatitudes. Simulations with a 3D chemistry–climate model indicate the almost complete destruction of ozone in the upper mesosphere over the region where high-energy electron precipitation occurred. Such an extraordinary type of energetic particle precipitation can have major implications for the atmosphere, and their frequency and strength should be carefully studied.

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Series: Atmospheric chemistry and physics
ISSN: 1680-7316
ISSN-E: 1680-7324
ISSN-L: 1680-7316
Volume: 22
Issue: 10
Pages: 6703 - 6716
DOI: 10.5194/acp-22-6703-2022
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: This research has been supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant no. 20-55-12020), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (grant no. SI 1088/7-1), the Russian Science Foundation (grant no. 20-67-46016) and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (grant no. 075-15-2021-583).
Copyright information: © Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.