National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Living With A Star

Targeted Research and Technology

Quantification of the Thermospheric Density Response to Solar Forcing

ROSES ID: NRA-NNH04ZSS001N      Selection Year: 2005      

Program Element: Focused Science Topic

Principal Investigator: Stanley Solomon

Affiliation(s): UCAR/NCAR


The response of thermospheric densities to variable solar energy inputs in the ultraviolet and X-ray spectral regions will be studied using a general circulation model of the thermosphere-ionosphere system, and measurements of solar irradiance from several space-based instruments. Calculated densities at different geophysical conditions and locations, using measured solar irradiance as input to the model, will be compared to an extensive database of measured densities obtained from long-term changes of multiple satellite orbits due to atmospheric drag. The general circulation model physical processes and boundary conditions will be examined and adjusted to obtain agreement with the density measurements and with empirical models. Results of this research will be communicated at community model development workshops as well as in the journal literature. These studies will result in an improved understanding of short-term and solar cycle modulation of thermospheric density, and a more quantitative basis for long-term studies of possible secular change in the upper atmosphere due to cooling induced by anthropogenic gases.


Performance YearReferenceActions
1Qian, L.; Solomon, S. C.; Roble, R. G.; Bowman, B....

Export to PDF