Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

Revised global model of thermosphere winds using satellite and ground-based observations


  • A. E. Hedin,

  • M. A. Biondi,

  • R. G. Burnside,

  • G. Hernandez,

  • R. M. Johnson,

  • T. L. Killeen,

  • C. Mazaudier,

  • J. W. Meriwether,

  • J. E. Salah,

  • R. J. Sica,

  • R. W. Smith,

  • N. W. Spencer,

  • V. B. Wickwar,

  • T. S. Virdi


Thermospheric wind data obtained from the Atmosphere Explorer E and Dynamics Explorer 2 satellites have been combined with wind data for the lower and upper thermosphere from ground-based incoherent scatter radar and Fabry-Perot optical interferometers to generate a revision (HWM90) of the HWM87 empirical model and extend its applicability to 100 km. Comparison of the various data sets with the aid of the model shows in general remarkable agreement, particularly at mid and low latitudes. The ground-based data allow modeling of seasonal/diurnal variations, which are most distinct at mid latitudes. While solar activity variations are now included, they are found to be small and not always very clearly delineated by the current data. They are most obvious at the higher latitudes. The model describes the transition from predominately diurnal variations in the upper thermosphere to semidiurnal variations in the lower thermosphere and a transition from summer to winter flow above 140 km to winter to summer flow below. Significant altitude gradients in the wind are found to extend to 300 km at some local times and pose complications for interpretation of Fabry-Perot observations.