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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2019-71
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2019-71
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: regular paper 21 May 2019

Submitted as: regular paper | 21 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO).

Entangled Dynamos and Joule Heating in the Earth’s Ionosphere

Stephan C. Buchert Stephan C. Buchert
  • Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract. The Earth's neutral atmosphere is the driver of the well-known Solar quiet (Sq) and other magnetic variations, observed since more than 100 years. Yet the understanding of how the neutral wind can accomplish a dynamo effect has been incomplete. A new viable model is presented, where a dynamo effect is obtained only in case of winds perpendicular to the magnetic field B that spatially vary along B. Uniform winds have no effect. We identify Sq as being driven by wind differences at magnetically conjugate points, and not by a neutral wind per se. The view of two different but entangled dynamos is favoured, with some conceptual analogy to quantum mechanical states. Because of the large preponderance of the neutral gas mass over the ionized component in the Earth's ionosphere the dominant effect of the plasma adjusting to the winds is Joule heating. The amount of global Joule heating power from Sq is estimated, with uncertainties, to be much lower than Joule heating from ionosphere-magnetosphere coupling at high latitudes in periods of strong geomagnetic activity. However, on average both contributions could be relatively evenly matched. The global contribution of heating by ionizing solar radiation in the same height range should be 2–3 orders of magnitude larger.

Stephan C. Buchert
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Status: open (until 22 Sep 2019)
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Stephan C. Buchert
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Short summary
Winds in the Earth's upper atmosphere cause magnetic and electric variations both at the ground and in space all over the Earth. According to the model of entangled dynamos the true cause is wind differences between regions in the northern and southern hemisphere that are connected by the Earth's dipole-like magnetic field. The power produced in the southern dynamo heats the northern upper atmosphere, and vice versa. The dynamos exist owing to this entanglement, an analogy to quantum mechanics.
Winds in the Earth's upper atmosphere cause magnetic and electric variations both at the ground...
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