Solar-terrestrial coupling evidenced by periodic behavior in geomagnetic indexes and the infrared energy budget of the thermosphere

Martin G. Mlynczak, F. Javier Martin-Torres, Christopher J. Mertens, B. Thomas Marshall, R. Earl Thompson, Janet U. Kozyra, Ellis E. Remsberg, Larry L. Gordley, James M. Russell, Thomas Woods

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88 Citations (Scopus)


We examine time series of the daily global power (W) radiated by carbon dioxide (at 15 μm) and by nitric oxide (at 5.3 μm) from the Earth's thermosphere between 100 km and 200 km altitude. Also examined is a time series of the daily absorbed solar ultraviolet power in the same altitude region in the wavelength span 0 to 175 nm. The infrared data are derived from the SABER instrument and the solar data are derived from the SEE instrument, both on the NASA TIMED satellite. The time series cover nearly 5 years from 2002 through 2006. The infrared and solar time series exhibit a decrease in radiated and absorbed power consistent with the declining phase of the current 11-year solar cycle. The infrared time series also exhibits high frequency variations that are not evident in the solar power time series. Spectral analysis shows a statistically significant 9-day periodicity in the infrared data but not in the solar data. A very strong 9-day periodicity is also found to exist in the time series of daily Ap and Kp geomagnetic indexes. These 9-day periodicities are linked to the recurrence of coronal holes on the Sun. These results demonstrate a direct coupling between the upper atmosphere of the Sun and the infrared energy budget of the thermosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L05808
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008


  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Thermosphere: energy deposition (3369)
  • History of Geophysics: Solar/planetary relationships
  • Magnetospheric Physics: Solar wind/magnetosphere interactions
  • Solar Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • and Astronomy: Coronal holes


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