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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics






Blackwell Publishing Ltd

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A wind-driven disturbance dynamo has been postulated many decades ago. But due to the sparseness of thermospheric wind measurements, details of the phenomena could not be investigated. In this study we use the CHAMP zonal wind observations from 2001 to 2005 to investigate the global features of the disturbance winds during magnetically disturbed periods. The disturbance zonal wind is mainly westward, which increases with magnetic activity and latitude. At subauroral region, the westward zonal wind is strongly enhanced in the magnetic local time (MLT) sector from afternoon to midnight, which we relate to the plasma drift within the subauroral polarization streams. At middle and low latitudes, the disturbance zonal wind is largely independent of season. Peak values of the disturbance zonal wind occur at different MLTs for different latitudes. That is around 1800MLT at subauroal region, with average values of about 200m/s; around 2300 MLT at middle latitudes, with average values of about 80m/s; and around 0300MLT at low latitudes, with average values up to 50m/s. The shift of the peak values of the westward disturbance zonal wind in local time at different latitudes could be considered as a response of the disturbance wind when it propagates from high to low latitudes. Further by applying for the first time a superposed epoch analysis, we show that the disturbance zonal wind responds with a delay to the sudden changes of solar wind input, which is different for the various latitudinal ranges. The propagation time of disturbance wind from the auroral region to the equator is about 3-4h. This is consistent with the speed of traveling atmospheric disturbances. Based on CHAMP observations, we try to illustrate the whole chain of processes from the solar wind driving to the ionospheric effects at lower latitudes. ©2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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