The Response of Thermospheric Winds to Geomagnetic Storms and Its Solar Cycle Dependence

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 12:05 PM
Wenbin Wang1, Alan Geoffrey Burns1 and Liying Qian2, (1)NCAR, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)NCAR High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, CO, United States
Thermospheric neutral wind circulation is set up as a result of a number of competing forcing processes. These include the pressure gradient, ion drag, Coriolis, momentum advection and viscosity forces. All of these forces change with varying solar radiation and geomagnetic activity. In this study we employ the thermosphere ionosphere electrodynamics global circulation model (TIEGCM) to elucidate the changes of thermospheric neutral winds with geomagnetic storms when a large amount of energy and momentum is deposited into the thermosphere at high latitudes. We will focus on the low and middle latitudes, where enhanced equatorward and westward winds are seen during the storms. The storm-time westward winds occur at all local times and are sustained well into the storm recovery phase. Diagnostic analysis on TIEGCM simulations suggests that momentum advection, ion drag and pressure gradient are the main drivers of these storm-time wind changes. The TIEGCM has also been run for different solar cycle conditions. Wind changes are smaller during solar maximum at low and middle latitudes. This is the result of higher neutral temperature and pressure gradient at low and middle latitudes in solar maximum, which limits the penetration of wind changes at high latitudes into low and middle latitudes.