How well can we estimate Pedersen conductance from the THEMIS white-light all-sky cameras?

We show that a THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) white‐light all‐sky imager (ASI) can estimate Pedersen conductance with an uncertainty of 3 mho or 40%. Using a series of case studies over a wide range of geomagnetic activity, we compare estimates of Pedersen conductance from the backscatter spectrum of the Poker Flat Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) with auroral intensities. We limit this comparison to an area bounding the radar measurements and within a limited area close to, (but off) imager zenith. We confirm a linear relationship between conductance and the square root of auroral intensity predicted from a simple theoretical approximation. Hence we extend a previous empirical result found for green‐line emissions to the case of white‐light off‐zenith emissions. The difference between the radar conductance and the best‐fit relationship has a mean of ‐0.76 ± 4.8 mho, and a relative mean difference of 21% ± 78%. The uncertainties are reduced to ‐0.72 ± 3.3 mho and 0% ± 40% by averaging conductance over 10 minutes, which we attribute to the time that auroral features take to move across the imager field being greater than the 1 minute resolution of the radar data. Our results demonstrate and calibrate the use of THEMIS ASIs for estimating Pedersen conductance. This technique allows the extension of estimates of Pedersen conductance from ISRs to derive continental‐scale estimates on scales of ~1‐10 minutes and ~100 km2. It thus complements estimates from low‐altitude satellites, satellite auroral imagers, and ground‐based magnetometers.


Publication status:
Authors: Lam, Mai Mai ORCIDORCID record for Mai Mai Lam, Freeman, Mervyn P. ORCIDORCID record for Mervyn P. Freeman, Jackman, C.M., Rae, I.J., Kalmoni, N.M.E., Sandhu, J.K., Forsyth, C.

On this site: Mai Mai Lam, Mervyn Freeman
12 March, 2019
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics / 124
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