Changes in Thermospheric Temperature Induced by High-Speed Solar Wind Streams




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American Geophysical Union


During high-speed stream (HSS) events the solar wind speed increases, and the cross polar cap potential increases, leading to increased Joule heating at high latitudes. The heat input at high latitudes heats the polar regions, which then conducts to lower latitudes, producing global heating. The heating occurs during the risetime of the cross polar cap potential and throughout the period of high cross polar cap potential as seen in our simulation. These simulations are performed using the Utah State University global thermosphere model driven by Joule heating rates that are consistent with electric fields observed by DMSP-15 observations of HSS events. Cooling occurs as the cross polar cap potential decreases and continues for several days after the cross polar cap potential has returned to background values. Polar cap ionospheric observations are compared to model simulations of heating and cooling, providing evidence that the thermospheric model is capturing the HSS energy input and the post-HSS multiday return to pre-HSS conditions. The HSS heating can be as high as 100 K (as seen from both the model and the data) at high latitudes, with a corresponding, but lower, global increase in thermospheric temperature.



Solar wind, High-Speed Stream Events, Cross Polar Cap Potential


"This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright" --p. A12303