Joule Heating, Particle Precipitation and Dynamical Heating as Possible Tidal Sources in the Antarctic Winter Lower Thermosphere

Friday, 19 December 2014
Weichun Fong1,2, Xinzhao Chu1,2, Xian Lu1, Cao Chen1,2, Zhibin Yu1,2, Timothy J Fuller-Rowell1,3, Arthur D Richmond4 and Mihail Codrescu3, (1)CIRES, CU Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)SWPC/NOAA, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)National Center for Atmospheric Research, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, CO, United States
Winter temperature tides observed by lidar at McMurdo (77.8°S, 166.7°E), Antarctica, show less than 3 K diurnal and semidiurnal tidal amplitude below 100 km. However, above 100 km, the diurnal and semidiurnal tidal amplitudes grow super-exponentially and can reach at least 15 K near 110 km, which are exceeding that of the freely propagating tides originating from the lower atmosphere. Such fast growth exists for all Kp index cases and diurnal amplitude increases to 15−30 K at 110 km with larger Kp indices corresponding to larger tidal amplitudes and faster growth rates. Combining with the slopes of diurnal tidal phases being steeper above 100 km, and the tidal phases barely changing with altitude from 100 to 106 km, it indicates that in-situ tidal sources may exist near or above 100 km.

In this paper, we utilize the coupled thermosphere ionosphere plasmasphere electrodynamics (CTIPe) model to investigate possible sources/mechanisms that lead to the fast amplitude growth of tides in the polar winter region. Joule heating, particle precipitation, and dynamical heating are likely to be the dominant thermospheric tidal sources, according to CTIPe model. Interestingly, the CTIPe tidal amplitudes induced by these sources form a concentric pattern with its center located at the geomagnetic pole, implying that the geomagnetic activity may play an important role. Furthermore, dynamical heating, which includes adiabatic heating/cooling and vertical advection, is likely to be the explanation of the fast growth of diurnal tidal amplitudes even under quiet condition of geomagnetic activity as observed by lidar. We also found that the tides propagating from the lower atmosphere is a minor factor for the fast increase of thermospheric diurnal tides in Antarctica.