Articles | Volume 25, issue 4
08 May 2007
 | 08 May 2007

Variability of Jovian ion winds: an upper limit for enhanced Joule heating

M. B. Lystrup, S. Miller, T. Stallard, C. G. A. Smith, and A. Aylward

Abstract. It has been proposed that short-timescale fluctuations about the mean electric field can significantly increase the upper atmospheric energy inputs at Jupiter, which may help to explain the high observed thermospheric temperatures. We present data from the first attempt to detect such variations in the Jovian ionosphere. Line-of-sight ionospheric velocity profiles in the Southern Jovian auroral/polar region are shown, derived from the Doppler shifting of H3+ infrared emission spectra. These data were recently obtained from the high-resolution CSHELL spectrometer at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. We find that there is no variability within this data set on timescales of the order of one minute and spatial scales of 640 km, putting upper limits on the timescales of fluctuations that would be needed to enhance Joule heating.