Indexed on: 05 Jan '07Published on: 05 Jan '07Published in: Space science reviews
Energetic proton precipitation occurring during solar events can increase the production of odd nitrogen in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. A very intense solar proton event (SPE) occurred on 28 October 2003. Its impact on the composition of the middle atmosphere was observed in details due to the availability of several space instruments. Here we present GOMOS observations of a strong NO2increase and a related ozone decrease in the upper stratosphere at north polar latitude. The perturbation of the chemical composition of the stratosphere was observed until the middle of December 2003. A strong NO2 increase was also observed in the south polar vortex in June-July 2003. It is tentatively attributed to the effect of an SPE with protons of moderate energy occurring on 29 May 2003. If this hypothesis is confirmed, it will imply that the global effect of SPEs on the composition of the stratosphere is underestimated when only strong energy SPEs are considered.