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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-820
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-820
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  02 Oct 2020

02 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Interhemispheric transport of metallic ions within ionospheric sporadic E layers by the lower thermospheric meridional circulation

Bingkun Yu1,2, Xianghui Xue1,3,4,5, Christopher J. Scott2, Jianfei Wu1,3,4, Xinan Yue6, Wuhu Feng7,8, Yutian Chi1,2, Daniel R. Marsh7,9, Hanli Liu10, Xiankang Dou1,5,11, and John M. C. Plane7 Bingkun Yu et al.
  • 1CAS Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment, Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, University of Scienceand Technology of China, Hefei, China
  • 2Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Berkshire, UK
  • 3CAS Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Hefei, China
  • 4Anhui Mengcheng Geophysics National Observation and Research Station, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
  • 5Hefei National Laboratory for the Physical Sciences at the Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
  • 6Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 7School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 8National Center for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 9National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 10High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 11Wuhan University, Wuhan, China

Abstract. Long-lived metallic ions in the Earth's atmosphere/ionosphere have been investigated for many decades. Although the seasonal variation in ionospheric sporadic E layers was first observed in the 1960s, the mechanism driving the variation remains a long-standing mystery. Here we report a study of ionospheric irregularities using scintillation data from COSMIC satellites and identify a large-scale horizontal transport of long-lived metallic ions, combined with the simulations of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model with the chemistry of metals and ground-based observations from two meridional chains of stations from 1975–2016. We find that the lower thermospheric meridional circulation influences the meridional transport and seasonal variations of metallic ions within sporadic E layers. The winter-to-summer, meridional velocity of ions is estimated to vary between −1.08 and 7.45 m/s at altitudes of 107–118 km between 10°–60° N latitude. Our results not only provide strong support for the lower thermospheric meridional circulation predicted by a whole atmosphere chemistry-climate model, but also emphasise the influences of this winter-to-summer circulation on the large-scale interhemispheric transport of composition in the thermosphere/ionosphere.

Bingkun Yu et al.

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Short summary
A long-standing mystery of metal ions within Es layers in the Earth's upper atmosphere is the marked seasonal dependence with a summer maximum and a winter minimum. We report a large-scale winter-to-summer transport of metal ions from six-year multi-satellite observations and worldwide ground-based stations. A global atmospheric circulation is responsible for the phenomenon. Our results emphasise the effect of this atmospheric circulation on the transport of composition in the upper atmosphere.
A long-standing mystery of metal ions within Es layers in the Earth's upper atmosphere is the...
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