Meridional Circulation in the Thermosphere. II. Solstice Conditions

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Cola. 80303
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Abstract

The mean meridional circulation and latitudinal variation of temperature in the thermosphere are calculated for solstice conditions. The heat and momentum sources that drive the thermospheric circulation are solar EUV and UV heating, high-latitude heating due to auroral processes, and a momentum source due to the correlation of diurnal variations of wind and ion drag. The results show a solar-driven, summer-to-winter circulation that is modified by the high-latitude heat source. The high-latitude heat source reinforces the summer-to-winter circulation in the summer hemisphere, but reverses the circulation in the mid-latitude winter hemisphere at F-layer heights with transition from one cell to another in the midlatitude winter hemisphere. Below about 150 km, however, the summer-to-winter circulation is maintained at all latitudes. The zonal winds at midlatitudes are generally eastward in the winter hemisphere and westward in the summer hemisphere. At F-layer heights, there is a significant temperature decrease from the summer pole to winter pole. Good agreement between the calculated and observed circulations and latitudinal temperature distributions is obtained for a total high-latitude heat source of about 2 × 1018 ergs s−1, but with 2½ times as much heating in the summer hemisphere as in the winter hemisphere.

Abstract

The mean meridional circulation and latitudinal variation of temperature in the thermosphere are calculated for solstice conditions. The heat and momentum sources that drive the thermospheric circulation are solar EUV and UV heating, high-latitude heating due to auroral processes, and a momentum source due to the correlation of diurnal variations of wind and ion drag. The results show a solar-driven, summer-to-winter circulation that is modified by the high-latitude heat source. The high-latitude heat source reinforces the summer-to-winter circulation in the summer hemisphere, but reverses the circulation in the mid-latitude winter hemisphere at F-layer heights with transition from one cell to another in the midlatitude winter hemisphere. Below about 150 km, however, the summer-to-winter circulation is maintained at all latitudes. The zonal winds at midlatitudes are generally eastward in the winter hemisphere and westward in the summer hemisphere. At F-layer heights, there is a significant temperature decrease from the summer pole to winter pole. Good agreement between the calculated and observed circulations and latitudinal temperature distributions is obtained for a total high-latitude heat source of about 2 × 1018 ergs s−1, but with 2½ times as much heating in the summer hemisphere as in the winter hemisphere.

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