It is now well established that present global-scale descriptions of the disturbed ionospherethermosphere (I-T) system do not adequately describe the dynamics and density distributions of the charged and neutral gases in the upper atmosphere. We believe that the principle reasons for these deficiencies lie in the inability to include strong meso-scale convection and particle features that are known to be embedded within the large-scale system. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the effects of these meso-scale structures on the I-T system and their interaction with the large-scale system. This opportunity is enabled by recently developed capabilities for systemwide observations and more sophisticated data assimilation and modeling procedures that are at the heart of this project. The objectives of this study are to use these new capabilities to improve the specification of the energy and momentum inputs to the system, especially at the meso- and small-scales, and to determine how and why the I-T system responds to these inputs at different scales. This work will produce a giant leap forward in understanding the behavior of the I-T system disturbances and ultimately improving its predictability related to strategic questions about satellite drag and HF radio wave propagation paths. Our goals are

  • to discover the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of meso-scale structures in the geomagnetic forcing, on the I-T system.
  • develop a new model description to describe the large-scale and meso-scale response of the I-T system to the forcing.
  • describe local and non-local responses of the I-T system that result from large-scale and meso-scale energy inputs at high latitudes.
  • understand how meso-scale structures and their influence on the I-T system are coupled to the magnetosphere.