Letter | Published:

Upper Atmosphere Heating near the Auroral Zones

Abstract

IT has long been supposed1–5 that there is a significant heat input into the upper atmosphere at high latitudes—either by Joule heating2,3 or by absorption of charged particles5. The density of the upper atmosphere certainly increases at times of geomagnetic disturbance6,7 and the effects seem to be enhanced8,9 at higher latitudes with a shorter time delay between the peak geomagnetic disturbance and the maximum density9. Recently DeVries10 has analysed air densities measured by the LOGACS accelerometer during the period of intense geomagnetic activity (aP400) on May 25–26, 1967. The increase in density on the nightside auroral zone (crossed at 2230 h LT at a height of 190 km) coincided with the onset of activity and the increase propagated to mid-latitudes after a delay of a few hours.

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