The Upper Atmosphere

  • The Upper Atmosphere
  • Lecturer: Dr. H. Winkler

This lecture is dedicated to the physics and chemistry of the high-altitude atmosphere, i.e. mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere. In recent years, there has been growing research interest concerning these atmospheric layers. Of particular interest are influences from space (“space weather”) and the coupling with the lower atmosphere. The purpose of this lecture is to give an overview of the structure of mesosphere and thermosphere as well as dynamical and chemical processes. Some focus is put on highly energetic processes related to, e.g., short wave solar radiation, extraterrestrial particles, and geomagnetic perturbations. Some aspects to be addressed in the lecture are: Properties and composition of mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere. Transport processes. Chemistry, and ion chemistry. Solar extreme-UV, X-rays, and gamma-rays. Precipitating charged particles (solar, magnetospheric). Polar cusps, magnetosphere. Meteor ablation, cosmic dust. Noctilucent clouds. Electricity (conductivity, electrosphere). Electric breakdown events (sprites etc).