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Statistical Characterization of GITM Thermospheric Horizontal Winds in Comparison to GOCE Estimations
  • Daniel Brandt,
  • Aaron J. Ridley
Daniel Brandt
Michigan Tech Research Institute, Michigan Tech Research Institute

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Aaron J. Ridley
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Characterization of the thermospheric horizontal wind is an important challenge in atmospheric modeling, due to its vital role in the transport of densities and energy, associations with the diurnal tide, and interplay with vertical winds that drive changes in the thermosphere neutral composition. The mechanisms and drivers that underlie the physics of thermospheric horizontal winds remain under investigation and, to date, no comprehensive statistical study between thermospheric winds generated by a physics-based atmospheric model and those retrieved from satellite measurements has been performed. Comparisons between cross-track horizontal winds from a 10-month run of GITM and those derived from the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite showed that GITM’s modeled horizontal winds best in the polar zone and overestimated them at midlatitudes in the equatorial ionization anomaly region. GITM’s wind response to AE was best at polar noon and worst in the midnight auroral zone, its ability to capture seasonality was best in the northern high latitudes and worst in the southern high latitudes, and GITM displayed less wind variability as a function of F10.7 than GOCE, matching it best for F10.7~150. Discrepancies in GITM’s performance may be explained by inaccurate modeling of ion drift, ion drag, and electron densities.
Mar 2022Published in Space Weather volume 20 issue 3. 10.1029/2021SW002922