, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 101-195
Date: 03 Dec 2010

Density Perturbations in the Upper Atmosphere Caused by the Dissipation of Solar Wind Energy

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The upper atmosphere constitutes the outer region of the terrestrial gas envelope above about 100 km altitude. The energy budget of this outer gas layer is partly controlled by the dissipation of solar wind energy. Since this energy input is largely irregular, the resulting density changes are considered as perturbations. The properties and physics of such density perturbations are reviewed here. Besides being an important link in the complex chain of solar-terrestrial relations, such disturbances are also of practical interest because they affect the orbits of satellites and space stations and are responsible for ionospheric disturbance effects.