All Physics Faculty Publications

Title

Enhanced lunar semidiurnal equatorial vertical plasmadrifts during sudden stratospheric warmings

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Geophysical Research Letters

Volume

38

Issue

L21104

Publisher

American Geophysical Union

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

Large scale electrodynamic and plasma density variations in the low latitude ionosphere have recently been associated with sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events. We present average patterns of largely enhanced lunar semidiurnal equatorial vertical plasma drift perturbations during arctic winter low and high solar flux SSW events. These perturbations play a dominant role in the electrodynamic response of the low latitude ionosphere to SSWs. Our models indicate that the amplitudes of the enhanced lunar semidiurnal drifts are strongly local time and solar flux dependent, with largest values during early morning low solar flux SSW periods. These results suggest that ionospheric conductance strongly modulate low latitude ionospheric changes during SSWs. They also indicate that lunar semidiurnal effects need to be taken into account by global ionospheric models for their improved forecasting of the low latitude ionospheric response to SSW events, especially for low solar flux conditions.

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