The Structure of Planetary Waves in the Auroral Region Upper Atmosphere

Y. T. Chiu Space Physics Laboratory, The Aerospace. Corporation, El Segundo, Calif. 90245

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J. M. Straus Space Physics Laboratory, The Aerospace. Corporation, El Segundo, Calif. 90245

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Abstract

Invoking recent satellite observations of the planetary-scale variations of auroral forms, as well as direct satellite observation of polar upper atmospheric winds during magnetic storms, we suggest that substorms may be a source of planetary waves of frequency intermediate between the Rossby and acoustic-gravity regimes. The zonal wavenumber of such waves is approximately 3–6; therefore, their propagation is strongly affected by the Coriolis force. Interpretation of worldwide traveling ionospheric disturbances in terms of meridional propagation of these waves is discussed.

Abstract

Invoking recent satellite observations of the planetary-scale variations of auroral forms, as well as direct satellite observation of polar upper atmospheric winds during magnetic storms, we suggest that substorms may be a source of planetary waves of frequency intermediate between the Rossby and acoustic-gravity regimes. The zonal wavenumber of such waves is approximately 3–6; therefore, their propagation is strongly affected by the Coriolis force. Interpretation of worldwide traveling ionospheric disturbances in terms of meridional propagation of these waves is discussed.

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