The NASA Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) Mission

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The NASA Ionospheric Connection explorer (ICON) will study the coupling between the thermosphere and ionosphere at low- and mid-latitudes by measuring the key parameters. The ICON mission will also employ numerical modeling to support the interpretation of the observations, and examine the importance of different vertical coupling mechanisms by conducting numerical experiments.

Variation of  NmF2 log 10 [1/cm3] for different seasons image
Variation of NmF2 log 10 [1/cm3] for different seasons at 13 local time for 2009 TIEGCM-ICON simulations with different lower boundary forcing: 27 day averaged TIMEGCM diurnal perturbation and climatological background (1a–1d, left panels, 27PCB); daily TIMEGCM perturbation and climatological background (2a–2d; middle panels, DPCB); daily TIMEGCM perturbations and background (3a–3d, right panels, DPDB). The results indicate that in general the longitudinal variation is similar however as previous studies have found an increase in tidal variability in the lower thermosphere leads to a decrease in plasma density and therefore generally lower NmF2 magnitudes in the "daily perturbation" cases (DPDB and DPCB) compared to the 27-day averaged diurnal perturbation case 27PCB case.

One of these models is the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model-ICON (TIEGCM-ICON) which will be driven by tidal perturbations derived from ICON observations using the Hough Mode. Extension method (HME) and at high latitude by ion convection and auroral particle precipitation patterns from the Assimilative Mapping of Ionospheric Electrodynamics (AMIE). The TIEGCM-ICON will simulate the thermosphere-ionosphere (TI) system during the period of the ICON mission. In this report the TIEGCM-ICON is introduced, and the focus is on examining the effect of the lower boundary on the TI-system to provide some guidance for interpreting future ICON model results.

Maute, A., Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Electrodynamics General Circulation Model for the Ionospheric Connection Explorer: TIEGCM-ICON; Space Sci Rev (2017). doi:10.1007/s11214-017-0330-3. The paper is part of the topical collection: The Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission.