Gravity Wave Effects in the Thermosphere – What Will the GOLD Imager See?

Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Richard Eastes, Florida Space Inst, Orlando, FL, United States, Sharon Vadas, NorthWest Research Associates Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, David W Rusch, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States, Aimee W Merkel, University of Colorado at Boulder, LASP, Boulder, CO, United States, Alan Geoffrey Burns, NCAR, Boulder, CO, United States, William E McClintock, Univ Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States and Andrey Krywonos, UCF-Florida Space Institute, Orlando, FL, United States
Gravity waves are one source of coupling between the Earth’s lower atmosphere and thermosphere. Modeling studies have found gravity wave production of large variations in thermospheric temperatures, 50K or more, and densities, as large as 10-25% (Vadas and Liu, 2013), at altitudes of 100 to 300 km. The effects are seen over spatial scales of tens to several hundred kilometers. Additionally, the dissipation of gravity waves creates localized regions of heating and cooling over scales of several hundred km. These effects may be observable by the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission, a NASA mission of opportunity to be launched in 2017, which will simultaneously image the temperature and composition (O/N2 density ratio) of Earth’s thermosphere from geostationary orbit. GOLD images the temperature and composition at 160 km (the signal is dominated by contributions from within one scale height at that altitude), and it will provide the necessary spatial resolution and sensitivity. Therefore, the GOLD mission may make the first measurements of the predicted variations in neutral temperature in this region of the thermosphere. Simulated measurements by the GOLD imager will be presented.