We present a new global magnetospheric index that measures the intensity of the Earth's ring current through energetic neutral atoms (ENAs). We have named it the Global Energetic Neutral Index (GENI), and it is derived from ENA measurements obtained by the Imaging Proton Spectrometer (IPS), part of the Comprehensive Energetic Particle and Pitch Angle Distribution (CEPPAD) experiment on the POLAR satellite. GENI provides a simple orbit-independent global sum of ENAs measured with IPS. Actual ENA measurements for the same magnetospheric state look different when seen from different points in the POLAR orbit. In addition, the instrument is sensitive to weak ion populations in the polar cap, as well as cosmic rays. We have devised a method for removing the effects of cosmic rays and weak ion fluxes, in order to produce an image of “pure” ENA counts. We then devised a method of normalizing the ENA measurements to remove the orbital bias effect. The normalized data were then used to produce the GENI. We show, both experimentally and theoretically the approximate proportionality between the GENI and the Dst index. In addition we discuss possible implications of this relation. Owing to the high sensitivity of IPS to ENAs, we can use these data to explore the ENA/Dst relationship not only during all phases of moderate geomagnetic storms, but also during quiescent ring current periods.



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Geophysical Research Letters


American Geophysical Union

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Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union

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