Seasonal variability in global eddy diffusion and the effect on neutral density


We describe a method for making single-satellite estimates of the seasonal variability in global-average eddy diffusion coefficients. Eddy diffusion values as a function of time were estimated from residuals of neutral density measurements made by the Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) and simulations made using the thermosphere-ionosphere-mesosphere electrodynamics global circulation model (TIME-GCM). The eddy diffusion coefficient results are quantitatively consistent with previous estimates based on satellite drag observations and are qualitatively consistent with other measurement methods such as sodium lidar observations and eddy diffusivity models. Eddy diffusion coefficient values estimated between January 2004 and January 2008 were then used to generate new TIME-GCM results. Based on these results, the root-mean-square sum for the TIME-GCM model is reduced by an average of 5\% when compared to density data from a variety of satellites, indicating that the fidelity of global density modeling can be improved by using data from a single satellite like CHAMP. This approach also demonstrates that eddy diffusion could be estimated in near real-time from satellite observations and used to drive a global circulation model like TIME-GCM. Although the use of global values improves modeled neutral densities, there are limitations to this method, which are discussed, including that the latitude dependence of the seasonal neutral-density signal is not completely captured by a global variation of eddy diffusion coefficients. This demonstrates the need for a latitude-dependent specification of eddy diffusion which is also consistent with diffusion observations made by other techniques.

Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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