The Thermospheric Semiannual Density Response to Solar EUV Heating
AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND PETERSON AFB CO
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The goal of this study was to characterize the thermospheric semiannual density response to solar heating during the last 35 years. Historical radar observational data have been processed with special orbit perturbations on 28 satellites with perigee heights ranging from 200 to 1100 km. Approximately 225,000 very accurate average daily density values at perigee have been obtained for all satellites using orbit energy dissipation rates. The semiannual variation has been found to be extremely variable from year to year. The magnitude of the maximum yearly difference, from the July minimum to the October maximum, is used to characterize the yearly semiannual variability. It has been found that this maximum difference can vary by as much as 100 from one year to the next. A high correlation has been found between this maximum difference and solar EUV data. The semiannual variation for each year has been characterized based on analyses of annual and semiannual cycles, using Fourier analysis, and equations have been developed to characterize this yearly variability. The use of new solar indices in the EUV and FUV wavelengths is shown to very accurately describe the semiannual July minimum phase shifting and the variations in the observed yearly semiannual amplitude.
- Atmospheric Physics