Latitudinal variations of neutral wind structures in the lower thermosphere for the March equinox period

S. P. Zhang, J. P. Thayer, R. G. Roble, J. E. Salah, G. G. Shepherd, Larisa Petrovna Goncharenko, Q. H. Zhou

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Abstract

Neutral winds in the lower thermosphere (95-130 km) measured during the March equinox period (1991-1992) by ground-based incoherent scatter radars at Arecibo (18°N), Millstone Hill (42.5°N), and Sondrestrom (67°N) and by the space-based wind imaging interferometer (WINDII) are compared and show overall good agreement but some differences. At 18°N, the wind field in the altitude region of 95-110 km displays prevailing upward propagating diurnal tides with wavelengths of about 22 km. The diurnal structure is affected by the semidiurnal tide resulting in regular minima separated by 11-12 h. At altitudes above 110 km, the diurnal tide dominant wind structure changes to the semidiurnal tide dominant structure as illustrated clearly by WINDII data with 24 h coverage. Winds at 42.5°N and 67°N show similar structures in which winds at 105-115 km are generally anti-sunward. Daytime ISR winds show prevailing upward propagating semidiurnal tides with wavelengths of 35-70 km. Winds from WINDII reveal the existence of the in situ thermospheric diurnal tide with amplitudes comparable to those of the semidiurnal tide. The superimposition of the two tides result in a wind field stronger during daytime than during nighttime at mid- and high-latitudes. Geomagnetic influence on neutral winds is negligible at low- and mid-latitudes under solar quiet conditions, but is observed at high-latitudes, where wind vectors follow a clockwise one-cell pattern at altitudes above about 118 km in geomagnetic coordinates. Most recent simulations for the three latitudes provided by the NCAR thermosphere/ionosphere/mesosphere electrodynamics general circulation model are compared to the observations. The results at low- and mid-latitudes agree well with the observed winds in both wind structures and magnitudes, and reveal details of wave transition. Simulations for high-latitudes are less satisfactory, and require further improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-117
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2004

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thermosphere
tides
semidiurnal tide
tide
interferometer
wind field
polar regions
interferometers
wavelength
daytime
electrodynamics
mesosphere
simulation
general circulation model
ionosphere
wavelengths
ionospheres

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Zhang, S. P., Thayer, J. P., Roble, R. G., Salah, J. E., Shepherd, G. G., Goncharenko, L. P., & Zhou, Q. H. (2004). Latitudinal variations of neutral wind structures in the lower thermosphere for the March equinox period. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 66(1), 105-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jastp.2003.09.011

Latitudinal variations of neutral wind structures in the lower thermosphere for the March equinox period. / Zhang, S. P.; Thayer, J. P.; Roble, R. G.; Salah, J. E.; Shepherd, G. G.; Goncharenko, Larisa Petrovna; Zhou, Q. H.

In: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 66, No. 1, 01.01.2004, p. 105-117.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zhang, S. P. ; Thayer, J. P. ; Roble, R. G. ; Salah, J. E. ; Shepherd, G. G. ; Goncharenko, Larisa Petrovna ; Zhou, Q. H. / Latitudinal variations of neutral wind structures in the lower thermosphere for the March equinox period. In: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. 2004 ; Vol. 66, No. 1. pp. 105-117.
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AU - Zhou, Q. H.

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