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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics






Blackwell Publishing Ltd

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In this paper we demonstrate that dissipation of upward propagating tides produces significant changes in the mean temperature of the thermosphere, ranging from +19æK at solar minimum to _15æK at solar maximum in the equatorial region. Our methodology consists of measuring the differential response of the thermosphere-ionosphere-electrodynamics general circulation model (TIE-GCM) under solar minimum and solar maximum conditions to constant tidal forcing at its 97ækm lower boundary, as specified by the observationally based Climatological Tidal Model of the Thermosphere. Diagnosis of the model reveals that these changes are mainly driven by 5.3æ_m nitric oxide (NO) cooling, which more efficiently cools the thermosphere at solar maximum. The main role of the tides is to modify the mean molecular oxygen densities ([O2]) through tidal-induced advective transport, which then lead to changes in NO densities through oxygen-nitrogen chemistry. Through tidal-induced changes in temperature and O, O2, and N2 densities, effects on the ionosphere are also quite substantial; tidal-induced modifications to zonal-mean F region peak electron densities (NmF2) are of order _10% at solar maximum and _30% at solar minimum in the equatorial region. Our results introduce an additional consideration when attributing long-term changes in thermospheric temperature and electron densities to CO2 cooling effects alone; that is, dissipation of upward propagating tides may constitute an additional element of global change in the ionosphere-thermosphere (IT) system. ©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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