Accuracy issues of the existing thermospheric wind models. Can we rely on them in seeking solutions to wind driven problems?
M. F. Larsen
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA (email@example.com)
The neutral winds are a critical driver for the electrodynamics, as well as many plasma processes, at mid and low latitudes. Obtaining better and more extensive measurements of the neutral circulation in the ionosphere has been an ongoing objective since the earliest days of ionospheric studies. The available measurement techniques generally cover limited altitude ranges and limited horizontal regions. The data coverage in the E region is especially sparse. The available data limit the development of empirical models, which, in any case, provide representations of average conditions rather than the extremes. The sparse data coverage also limits the initialization and verification of the physics-based models. The available models for characterizing the E- and F-region neutral winds, including the empirical and physics-based numerical models, will be summarized briefly. The extent to which each type of model can be expected to provide realistic drivers for E- and F-region electrodynamics will be discussed. Finally, a set of goals for improving the representation of the winds will be presented.