On the Role of Joule Heating as a Source of Gravity-Wave Energy above 100 km

William Blumen Dept. of Astro-Geophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder

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Richard G. Hendl Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories, Bedford, Mass.

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Abstract

Observations of ionospheric disturbances by various investigators have led to the suggestion that auroral energy may be coupled to atmospheric wave motions through joule heating. A linear model of internal gravity-wave generation by joule heating in the region of the auroral electrojet (100–150 km above the earth's surface) is investigated. Heat conduction, viscosity and reflection of wave energy by atmospheric inhomogeneities are not considered. The computed value of the upward wave-energy flux from the source region is of order 0.1–1 erg cm−2 sec−1 and is of sufficient magnitude to be of importance in the energetics of the F region. Shortcomings of the present model are discussed, with emphasis on how the physical features which have been neglected might affect the present results.

Abstract

Observations of ionospheric disturbances by various investigators have led to the suggestion that auroral energy may be coupled to atmospheric wave motions through joule heating. A linear model of internal gravity-wave generation by joule heating in the region of the auroral electrojet (100–150 km above the earth's surface) is investigated. Heat conduction, viscosity and reflection of wave energy by atmospheric inhomogeneities are not considered. The computed value of the upward wave-energy flux from the source region is of order 0.1–1 erg cm−2 sec−1 and is of sufficient magnitude to be of importance in the energetics of the F region. Shortcomings of the present model are discussed, with emphasis on how the physical features which have been neglected might affect the present results.

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