Empirical wind model for the upper, middle and lower atmosphere

A. E. Hedin, E. L. Fleming, A. H. Manson, F. J. Schmidlin, S. K. Avery, R. R. Clark, S. J. Franke, G. J. Fraser, T. Tsuda, F. Vial, R. A. Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The HWM90 thermospheric wind model has been revised in the lower thermosphere and extended into the mesosphere, stratosphere and lower atmosphere to provide a single analytic model for calculating zonal and meridional wind profiles representative of the climatological average for various geophysical conditions. Gradient winds from CIRA-86 plus rocket soundings, incoherent scatter radar, MF radar, and meteor radar provide the data base and are supplemented by previous data driven model summaries. Low-order spherical harmonics and Fourier series are used to describe the major variations throughout the atmosphere including latitude, annual, semiannual, local time (tides), and longitude (stationary wave 1), with a cubic spline interpolation in altitude. The model represents a smoothed compromise between the original data sources. Although agreement between various data sources is generally good, some systematic differences are noted, particularly near the mesopause. Overall root mean square differences between data and model values arc on the order of 10 m/s in the mesosphere and 10 m/s in the stratosphere for zonal winds, and 10 m/s and 5 m/s respectively for meridional winds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1447
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geophysics
  • General Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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