The Effect of a Solar Proton Event on the Minor Neutral Constituents of the Summer Polar Mesosphere
Research and development technical rept.
ARMY ELECTRONICS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMMAND WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE NM ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES LAB
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The increased ionization associated with a solar proton event serves as an additional source of NO sub x and HO sub x in the middle atmosphere. Detailed calculations show that upper limits of 1.3 NO sub x and 1.8 HO sub x per ion pair are applicable throughout most of the mesosphere. The enhanced number densities of ionized species affect the concentrations of several important minor neutral species, which in turn play an important role in the radiation and energy balance of the entire mesosphere. The increased ionization during the peak 24-hour period of the August 1972 SPE is capable of increasing the OH concentration and decreasing the O and O3 concentrations up to an order of magnitude near 80 km, with smaller changes evident throughout the mesosphere. An exact determination of the immediate products of ionization events are necessary for correct assessment of Army nuclear weapons effects NWE computer codes. Modeling a naturally occurring phenomenon such as solar proton event provides the opportunity to partially validate the sections of NWE codes which deal with post-burst effects in the middle atmosphere.