Two-dimensional turbulence, space shuttle plume transport in the thermosphere, and a possible relation to the Great Siberian Impact Event
Article first published online: 22 JUL 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 14, July 2009
How to Cite
2009), Two-dimensional turbulence, space shuttle plume transport in the thermosphere, and a possible relation to the Great Siberian Impact Event, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L14103, doi:10.1029/2009GL038362., , and (
- Issue published online: 22 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 22 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 JUN 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 12 JUN 2009
- Manuscript Received: 25 MAR 2009
- comet impact;
- thermospheric dynamics;
- two-dimensional turbulence
 During two solstices, Stevens et al. [2003, 2005] presented satellite and ground-based observations that indicated that the water vapor plume from the space shuttle's main engine rapidly expanded and moved quickly to the summer pole. Once there, the water vapor plume condensed into large noctilucent cloud displays. Here we present a hypothesis for the plume's rapid transport and anomalous horizontal diffusion. We argue that this system is two-dimensionally turbulent, which has the property of inverse cascade. This energy transport to large scales explains the poleward transport, and the well-known system properties explain the anomalous diffusion. Additionally, we apply these results to the aftermath of the 1908 Great Siberian Impact Event, when extremely bright night skies were observed in Great Britain during the days following the impact. The impacting object must have contained considerable ice and thus, was very likely a comet.