Mid-latitude neutral wind responses to sub-auroral polarization streams

Daniel D. Billett, Kathryn A. Mcwilliams, Robert B. Kerr, Jonathan J. Makela, Alex T. Chartier, J. Michael Ruohoniemi, Sudha Kapali, Mike A. Migliozzi, Juanita Riccobono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the response of the mid-latitude thermospheric neutral winds to a sub-auroral polarization stream (SAPS) event. Using red line (F region) airglow data from two Fabry-Pérot interferometers (FPIs), and F-region ionospheric flow velocities from four Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) radars, the drivers behind changes seen in the neutral winds are explored within the context of the larger SAPS structure. Different, although strong, neutral wind responses to the SAPS are seen at the two FPI sites, even though they are relatively close geographically. We attribute the wind differences to the varying balance of pressure gradient, ion drag, and Coriolis forces, which ultimately depend on proximity to the SAPS. At the FPI site equatorward of the SAPS, pressure gradient and Coriolis forces drive the winds equatorward and then westward. At the FPI site co-located with the SAPS, the ion drag is strong and results in the winds surging westward before turning eastward when becoming influenced by dawnside sunward plasma convection drifts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-583
Number of pages13
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 28 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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