Infrasonic waves generated by supersonic auroral arcs

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    A finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) model of infrasound propagation in a realistic atmosphere is used to provide quantitative interpretation of infrasonic waves produced by auroral arcs moving with supersonic speed. The Lorentz force and Joule heating are discussed in the existing literature as primary sources producing infrasound waves in the frequency range 0.1-0.01Hz associated with the auroral electrojet. The results are consistent with original ideas of Swift (1973) and demonstrate that the synchronization of the speed of auroral arc and phase speed of the acoustic wave in the electrojet volume is an important condition for generation of magnitudes and frequency contents of infrasonic waves observable on the ground. The reported modeling also allows accurate quantitative reproduction of previously observed complex infrasonic waveforms including direct shock and reflected shockwaves, which are refracted back to the earth by the thermosphere.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numberL19105
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Issue number19
    StatePublished - Oct 16 2012

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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