Solar wind, Earth wind and planetary winds?

Solar wind, Earth wind and planetary winds?

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In February 2021, a new form of "electrified gas breeze" was announced, see blog by Tony Phillips entitled A New Form of Space Weather: Earth Wind which might a possible explanation for traces of water on the moon:

“Earth wind” comes from the axes of our planet. Every day, 24/7, fountains of gas shoot into space from the poles. The leakage is tiny compared to Earth's total atmosphere, but it is enough to fill the magnetosphere with a riot of rapidly blowing charged particles. Ingredients include ionized hydrogen, helium, oxygen and nitrogen.

Once a month, the Moon gets hit by a blast of Earth wind. It happens around the time of the full Moon when Earth's magnetic tail points like a shotgun toward the lunar disk.

I suspect, that all planets with atmospheres should display this kind of planetary winds (even without having a strong magnetic field), but I am sure it was never termed Venus wind or Jupiter wind since that naturally refers to processes within the atmosphere of the repsective planet. Does anybody know (publications) on the topic of gas jets errupting from solar planets with atmosphere? What order of magnitude would such a particle flow have for Venus or Jupiter?


  • H. Z. Wang et al.: Earth Wind as a Possible Exogenous Source of Lunar Surface Hydration 2021 ApJL 907 L32
  • Why did Venus not lose its atmosphere without a magnetic field?
  • Why has Venus's atmosphere not been stripped away by solar wind?

From going through the literature the paper by Wang et al. 2021 is citing, I am nearly certain that the term "Earth wind" must be a recent invention, perhaps by those authors themselves.

It is however correct to call the solar wind a 'wind'. This is because a wind is a pressure-driven bulk motion of a collectively coupled gas. The solar wind, at its base is driven by the enormous pressure gradients via the 1 million Kelvin hot solar corona.
While Earth's primary, hydrogen-rich atmosphere might have experienced such a phenomenon, it is incorrect in naming the current atmospheric escape as 'wind'.

But now vocabulary aside, current atmospheric escape rates at the terrestrial planets are governed by various ionic escape processes, the most important of them being polar cusp escape. So the data you are actually looking for is data on polar cusp escape from various orbiters. Fortunately, Gunell et al., (2018) have given a recent compendium on this (see their table A.1), and attempted a simple modelling of the data. There is no data available on polar escape for Mars and Venus, as this concept doesn't apply to those planets. The other escape processes are on average smaller for hydrogen, but larger for oxygen ions.

Similarly, I think there is no data available on the escape of gases from the gas giants. The magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn have been studied, and their particle populations characterized, but I think it is unclear how much of the magnetispheric content gets ultimately lost. There is no reliable data available on polar escape for Uranus and Neptune, as those planets were only ever visited by one singular flyby (that of Voyager 2).

All planets lose a small amount of atmospheric gases due to some atoms/molecules (even neutral ones) having an energy high enough to escape the gravitational field of the planet. This tends to affect lighter elements more as they have higher velocities at the same temperature. This kind of thermal 'outgassing' is in principle the same as that producing the 'solar wind'.

The ejection of ions in the polar regions mentioned in this link are due to a slightly different mechanism. They are caused by electric fields (plasma polarization fields) in the ionosphere. But these in turn are due to the electrons not being gravitationally bound and thus being able to escape from the earth, hence creating a net electric field. They are only able to escape in the region of open magnetic field lines though i.e. near the poles. Again, also this is lastly a result of some particles being able to escape the gravitational field.

It is not too difficult to calculate the amount of gas that can escape the gravity field of the planet. Let's consider atomic hydrogen (mass m=1.6*10-24g} in case of the earth. The density at the height of about 400:km (above which the atmosphere can be considered collisionless) is about $n=10^5/cm^3$

The temperature can be quite variable between about $600K$ and $2000K$ depending on daytime and solar activity. Let's take a medium value of $T=1200K$ here. The height of 400 km would then make the radius at that level $R=6778 km$ and thus the total area of the sphere $A=4pi R^2$. The escape flux from one square centimeter of that sphere is (assuming a Maxwell velocity distribution and considering that only half of the atoms (going upwards) can escape)

$$F_{esc} = frac {nsqrt{pi}}{4 v_0} int_{v_{esc}}^{infty} dv * v*exp[-(frac {v}{v_0})^2] =$$ $$= frac{sqrt{pi} n v_0}{8} *exp[-(frac{v_{esc}}{v_0})^2]$$

where $v_0$ is the thermal speed


with $k$ the Boltmann constant, and


the escape speed from the planet with mass $M$ (=6*1027g for earth) with radius R and G the gravitational constant.

With the values as given this results in an escape flux of H atoms of $F_{esc}=4*10^7/cm^2/sec$ and thus a total hydrogen mass loss of $F_{esc}*A*m=0.4 kg/sec$. If you look at the Wikipedia page , they give 3kg/sec for the earth's hydrogen loss, which is a bit more, but then this figure could be based on different physical parameters, especially as this depends very strongly on the temperature. With T=2000 K, the result would be already 4.4 kg/sec according to the above calculation. For other elements than hydrogen, the loss rate is much lower though due to smaller thermal velocities. Even at 2000 K , Helium for instance is only lost at a rate of 4*10-3 kg/sec and atomic oxygen even at about 10-18 kg/sec. This is all assuming a Maxwellian velocity distribution in the first place, which may or may not be an accurate approximation in the high velocity tail of the distribution.

In case of the solar plasma, there is the complication that the electrons are gravitationally practically unbound because of their small mass. This means they will escape freely until a state of equilibrium is reached where the sun becomes positively charged by such an amount that their escape rate is equal to that of the (much heavier) ions (i.e. both the electrons and the ions must have the same net potential energy). So ignoring the gravitational potential energy of the electrons, in equilibrium the equation must hold ($U_G$=gravitational potential energy, $U_E$=electric potential energy)

$$U_E= U_G-U_E$$

where the left hand side is the net potential energy for an electron and the right hand side for the ion ($U_E$ is negative on the right hand side because the positively charged sun will repel rather than attract the ions).

This equation obviously gives us

$$U_E=frac {U_G}{2}$$

that is the electric field induced by the electron escape (plasma polarization field) effectively reduces gravity by 1/2 for the ions. In the equations for the calculation of the escape flux above, we have therefore to effectively reduce the solar mass M by a factor 1/2 (which reduces the escape velocity by a factor $1/sqrt{2}$). Doing this and assuming an ion density of $n=10^8/cm^3$ at $R=740000 km$, one can match the observed flux/density of the solar wind at the earth with a temperature of $T=2.5*10^6 K$, which again seems a reasonable value. The total mass loss in this case follows from the above as $8*10^8 kg/sec$ which is also consistent with the value one can find quoted elsewhere.

How does the solar wind affect Earth?

Scientists released four new papers in the journal Nature this week, outlining new discoveries from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which has come closer to our parent star than any previous spacecraft. This new NASA video – released November 24, 2019 – explains why we should care. It describes the solar wind, the stream of particles that begins in the sun’s inner atmosphere and continues out beyond our solar system.

Here on Earth’s surface, we’re protected from the solar wind by our blanket of atmosphere. In fact, earthly skywatchers look forward to announcements of storms on the sun, which send the solar wind outward. They can set off geomagnetic storms that lead to beautiful displays of auroras, or northern lights, typically seen at high latitudes and somtimes, if the solar wind is strong enough, extending down into lower latitudes.

But these same solar storms can also disrupt orbiting satellites (they can be the reason we all have mobile phone issues on the same day). They’ve been known to cause earthly power grids to fail, causing blackouts. And they’re a danger to our astronauts in space.

How strong is the solar wind? The wind speed of a Category 5 hurricane can top at well over 150 miles (240 km) per hour. The average speed of the solar wind is almost a million miles (1.6 million km) per hour.

Watch the video to learn more.

A beautiful example of an aurora, caused by the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s magnetic field. Shreenivasan Manievannan captured this photo on November 2, 2016, from an airplane flying over northern Canada near the Arctic Circle.

The Outer Heliosphere: The Next Frontiers

John D. Richardson , in COSPAR Colloquia Series , 2001


Solar wind parameters vary with changes in the solar cycle, with changes in heliolatitude, and with changes in radial distance. Even with multiple spacecraft it can be difficult to deconvolve these various effects. We find that the solar wind dynamic pressure varies by a factor of 2 over the solar cycle at all latitudes and distances. The speed and density (which determine the dynamic pressure) have dramatically different latitude profiles at solar maximum and solar minimum. At solar minimum, a narrow, 20-30° latitude wedge of slow, dense solar wind at low latitudes is surrounded by fast tenuous solar wind at high latitudes, whereas at solar maximum the highest speeds and lowest densities are at low latitudes with a slow decrease in speed towards higher latitudes. The speed of the solar wind decreases with radial distance due to the pickup of interstellar neutrals at 60 AU this slowdown is about 40 km/s. The solar wind is heated as it moves outwards so it does not cool adiabatically. The observed temperatures in the outer heliosphere are are still very strongly correlated with the solar wind speed, a relation initially imposed at the solar source.

The edge of the solar system is a blob, 3D map reveals

Solar wind repels 70% of cosmic radiation, but it doesn't protect every side of the solar system equally.

At the edge of the solar system is a violent frontier where two cosmic powers clash. On one side is the solar wind, the constant flood of hot, charged particles flowing out of the sun at hundreds of miles per second. On the other side are the winds of space, blowing with the radiation of billions upon billions of nearby stars.

Despite causing occasional blackouts here on Earth, the solar wind actually does a pretty good job of defending our planet (and the solar system) from the harshest interstellar radiation. As the wind gusts out of the sun in every direction at once, it forms an enormous protective bubble around the solar system that repels about 70% of incoming radiation, Live Science previously reported. (Earth&rsquos magnetic shield protects us from much of the rest).

This bubble is known as the heliosphere, and its edge (called the heliopause) marks a physical border where the solar system ends and interstellar space begins &mdash but, unlike most borders on Earth, scientists have no idea how big it is or what it looks like. A new study, published June 10 in The Astrophysical Journal, tackles these mysteries with the first 3D map of the heliosphere ever created.

Using 10 years of data captured by NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer satellite, the study authors tracked solar-wind particles as they traveled from the sun to the edge of the solar system and back again. From this travel time, the team calculated how far the wind had blown in a given direction before being repelled by interstellar radiation, allowing the researchers to map the invisible edges of the solar system similarly to the way bats use echolocation, the researchers said.

"Just as bats send out sonar pulses in every direction and use the return signal to create a mental map of their surroundings, we used the sun's solar wind, which goes out in all directions, to create a map of the heliosphere," lead study author Dan Reisenfeld, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said in a statement.

As the team's map shows, the heliosphere doesn't exactly stay true to the "sphere" part of its name the barrier around the solar system is more of a wibbly-wobbly blob that's far thinner on one side than on the other.

That's because, just as our planet orbits the sun in a set direction, the sun orbits the center of the Milky Way, pushing headlong against the interstellar wind that crosses the sun's path. In this windward direction, the distance from the sun to the edge of the heliosphere is considerably shorter than it is in the opposite direction &mdash about 120 astronomical units (AU), or 120 times the average distance from Earth to the sun, facing the wind versus at least 350 AU in the opposite direction.

Why "at least" that amount? Because 350 AU is the distance limit of the team's wind-mapping method the heliosphere could potentially extend much further behind the solar system than it appears on the team's map, meaning the protective bubble could be even blobbier than it seems here. Like bats in a cave, we'll have to fly even deeper into the darkness to figure that out.

5. Astrobiology analogs

Astrobiologists study the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. While no clear signs of extraterrestrial life have been detected, the possibility has grown increasingly plausible as analog researchers continue to find life on Earth in the harshest conditions. Astrobiologists search extreme ecosystems and habitats on Earth for clues about what life might be like on distant worlds. Deep in Earth's oceans, for instance, microbes thrive in very salty, high-pressure environments. These tough and tiny creatures show us what life could be like in salt-watery alien terrain.

How Vital Is a Planet's Magnetic Field? New Debate Rises

Our nearest planetary neighbors, Mars and Venus, have no oceans or lakes or rivers. Some researchers have speculated that they were blown dry by the solar wind, and that our Earth escaped this fate because its strong magnetic field deflects the wind. However, a debate has arisen over whether a magnetic field is any kind of shield at all.

The controversy stems from recent observations that show Mars and Venus are losing oxygen ions from their atmospheres into space at about the same rate as Earth. This came as something of a surprise, since only Earth has a strong dipolar magnetic fieldthat can prevent solar wind particles from slamming into the upper atmosphere and directly stripping away ions.

"My opinion is that the magnetic shield hypothesis is unproven," said Robert Strangeway from UCLA. "There's nothing in the contemporary data to warrant invoking magnetic fields."

Each of the three planets is losing roughly a ton of atmosphere to space every hour. Some of this lost material was originally in the form of water, so this begs the question: How did the planets end up with vastly different quantities of water if they are all "leaking" to space at similar rates?

"The problem is in taking today's rates and trying to guess what was happening billions of years ago," explained Janet Luhmann of the University of California, Berkeley. She believes Earth's magnetic field could have made the difference in the past when the solar wind was presumably stronger.

"People aren't putting all the cards on the table," Luhmann said. "We can't say that magnetic fields are unimportant from the current data."

Both Luhmann and Strangeway agree that sorting out what makes one planet wet while another is dry will require more data on how the atmospheric loss depends on the sun's output.

Buffeting in the solar breeze

The main driver of ion escape from planetary atmospheres is the solar wind, which is a high-speed outflow from the sun consisting mostly of protons and electrons. Because these particles carry a charge, their paths bend when they encounter a magnetic field.

For non-magnetized Mars and Venus, the solar wind basically barrels straight into the upper atmosphere and scoops up ions and carries them into space. Warth's magnetic field provides a barrier to the solar wind, called the magnetosphere, but ions still get stripped away through a circuitous route.

Essentially, the solar wind interacting with the Earth's magnetic field transfers some of its energy into the upper atmosphere in the polar regions. The auroras that are visible at high latitudes are one manifestation of this transfer. But it also heats up atmospheric ions enough that they escape up out of the poles, forming Earth's "polar ion outflows."

"The magnetic field is an obstacle to the solar wind, but it is also a funnel," Strangeway says. The effect of the solar wind on Earth is less uniform than on Mars and Venus, but apparently the net loss rate is about the same.

Strangeway explains this in terms of momentum. The solar wind loses some of its momentum when it runs into any planet. [Photos: Auroras Dazzle Northern Observers]

Basic physics suggests that this momentum has to go somewhere, and according to Strangeway, it goes into the polar region atmosphere to energize ions there to velocities sufficient to escape Earth’s gravity. The presence of a magnetic field changes the mechanism for this momentum transfer, but the end result is similar.

At least, that seems to be the case now.

Water loss equivalent

The planets are currently losing a few hundred grams of ions per second, but this loss is spread over a very large region of space, so it is a challenge to measure accurately. Satellites in orbit around Earth have detected high-speed ions coming out over the poles, but scientists are not certain how many of them actually escape into space, rather than recycle back into the atmosphere through the Earth's magnetosphere.

Observations at Mars and Venus have been harder to come by. Mars Express (orbiting Mars since 2003) and Venus Express (orbiting Venus since 2006) have provided much better constraints than previous planetary missions.

"Right now the rates for the three planets are about the same for certain ions," Luhmann says. "No one is debating that."

Other ions besides oxygen have been measured escaping into space, such as ionized carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide molecules, which also include oxygen. Hydrogen ions are also being lost, but they are difficult to distinguish from solar wind protons.

Even so, researchers assume that approximately two hydrogen atoms escape for each oxygen. (The reasoning is that if this were not the case, the atmosphere would have long ago turned highly oxidative or reductive). The net effect is the loss of H2O molecules.

Researchers convert the oxygen ion loss rate into an equivalent water loss rate, and they then try to estimate how much water has been stripped from each planet over their long histories.

Mars is the favorite example because the planet's geology indicates that there was a large amount of liquid water on the surface 3.5 billion years ago. We have less evidence for Venus, but it too was likely wet in the past.

"All three planets had a decent water budget to start with," Luhmann said.

Strangeway has calculated how much water each planet should have lost to space, assuming the current rates have remained constant over the last 3.5 billion years. Imagining this water spread evenly over the surface, Mars, Earth and Venus would have each lost a layer of water 30, 9 and 8 centimeters thick, respectively.

"That's not a whole lot," Strangeway conceded. It's definitely not enough to explain the Martian geological features.

One caveat is the loss of neutral atoms, which go largely undetected by current space instruments. Mars is likely losing many more neutral atoms than its counterparts. This is because Mars is smaller and thus has a weaker gravitational hold on its atmosphere. Certain chemical interactions can give neutral oxygen atoms enough speed to escape Mars' gravity.

This neutral loss might help explain why Mars is dry, but it can't explain why Venus is also without water. The escape velocity on Venus and Earth is too high for neutral loss to be significant.

"Venus is trickier," says Strangeway. Something must have been different in the past to explain why Venus has 100,000 times less water than Earth.

One difference was the sun.

Solar variability

We don't have a direct record of the sun's history, but astronomers can study other stars that are similar to our sun at an earlier age. These young sun-like stars appear to be more active, with possibly stronger winds and more ultraviolet light emission. Therefore, it's likely that our sun was stripping planets of their atmospheres at a faster rate in the past.

Luhmann argues that the Earth's magnetic field may have been a better shield against a more active sun. In comparison, the loss rates on defenseless Venus and Mars could have gone up by a factor of a thousand or more, relative to Earth.

Strangeway isn't convinced.

"I'm very cautious," he said. "I don't know enough to say how the young Sun would interact with a planetary magnetic field."

One way to investigate the role of magnetic fields in the past is to observe what happens now during a solar storm, when the solar wind gusts violently. Several solar storms (or more technically "coronal mass ejections") erupt from the Sun every day during peaks in the solar cycle, but only a few storms pass over Earth each month. When they do, satellites can be knocked out, and radiation can increase to dangerous levels over the poles.

At the Earth, solar storms also accelerate atmospheric erosion, but more accurate measurements are needed. ESA's Cluster satellites are collecting data on our planet's magnetosphere and solar wind interaction. This information will improve models on the "weather" in the upper atmosphere, so scientists can better model atmospheric escape and how it depends on the solar wind and other inputs.

For Mars, the upcoming Maven mission from NASA will study ion and neutral losses and test whether these rates change during disturbances in solar activity and the solar wind.

If Strangeway had to guess, he would say the data will show that the difference between magnetized and non-magnetized planets will be slight. But he doesn't have any alternative mechanism for guarding our planet's water supply.

Space Weather Forecast: Solar Wind Approaching Earth Could Cause Geomagnetic Unrest

A space weather forecasting site predicted that a stream of solar wind coming from a hole in the Sun’s atmosphere might hit Earth next week. The site noted that the solar event could trigger geomagnetic unrest on the planet.

The approaching solar wind is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sunday or Monday, reported. The solar wind came from a hole that formed on the northern portion of the Sun’s atmosphere, which is known as the corona.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) explained that solar winds contain highly-charged particles that can disrupt the magnetic field of Earth. They appear as plasma flowing from the Sun’s surface.

The SWPC noted that the traveling speed of solar winds depends on the region on the Sun where they came from.

“Coronal holes produce solar wind of high speed, ranging from 500 to 800 kilometers per second,” the agency explained. “The north and south poles of the Sun have large, persistent coronal holes, so high latitudes are filled with fast solar wind. In the equatorial plane, where the Earth and the other planets orbit, the most common state of the solar wind is the slow speed wind, with speeds of about 400 kilometers per second.”

According to, the approaching solar wind could cause various effects on Earth once it hits the planet. The site noted that the cosmic weather could trigger auroras or polar lights over affected areas as the highly-charged particles of the solar wind interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

The site also stated that the solar event could also cause geomagnetic unrest on the planet. Geomagnetic disturbances occur due to the transfer of energy from the solar winds to the magnetic field.

Depending on the magnitude of the geomagnetic unrest or storm, affected areas might experience power outages and issues related to radio and satellite communications.

“While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents in the power grid and pipelines,” the SWPC explained.

A giant hole in the topmost layer of the sun is letting off the solar wind causing auroras down on Earth. Photo: NASA/SDO

What is the solar wind?

By: Maria Temming July 15, 2014 0

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The Sun’s outer atmosphere, the super-hot corona, is the source of the solar wind, a steady outflow of charged particles from the Sun. These particles have gained enough energy to fill the heliosphere, a region of space that extends well past the orbit of Pluto. As these particles flow past Earth’s orbit, they’re traveling at an average of 400 kilometers per second. Though the Sun can lose more than a million tons of material each second, the amount is still negligible compared to the Sun’s total mass.

The solar wind pushing on Earth's magnetic field.

The solar wind is primarily composed of roughly equal numbers of protons and electrons, as well as a few heavier ions. The particles’ velocities are highest over coronal holes, areas near the Sun’s poles associated with “open” magnetic field lines that allow material to flow more easily into space. Particles flow out more slowly near the Sun’s equator, where magnetic field lines loop back on themselves and trap coronal material.

Earth’s magnetic field protects our planet, carving out a cavity in the solar wind called the magnetosphere. Because of the solar wind’s pressure on the magnetic field, the magnetosphere is compressed on the Sun-facing side. On the opposite side, it stretches out into a magnetotail.

Occasionally, the Sun’s charged particles find their way into Earth’s magnetosphere, and spiral along magnetic field lines toward the poles, where they interact with particles in the Earth’s upper atmosphere to create auroras.

Boundary Between Our Solar System and Interstellar Space Mapped for the First Time

A diagram of our heliosphere. For the first time, scientists have mapped the heliopause, which is the boundary between the heliosphere (brown) and interstellar space (dark blue). Credit: NASA/IBEX/Adler Planetarium

Using data from NASA’s IBEX satellite, scientists created the first-ever 3D map of the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space.

For the first time, the boundary of the heliosphere has been mapped, giving scientists a better understanding of how solar and interstellar winds interact.

“Physics models have theorized this boundary for years,” said Dan Reisenfeld, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author on the paper, which was published in the Astrophysical Journal on June 10, 2021. “But this is the first time we’ve actually been able to measure it and make a three-dimensional map of it.”

The heliosphere is a bubble created by the solar wind, a stream of mostly protons, electrons, and alpha particles that extends from the Sun into interstellar space and protects the Earth from harmful interstellar radiation.

Reisenfeld and a team of other scientists used data from NASA’s Earth-orbiting Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) satellite, which detects particles that come from the heliosheath, the boundary layer between the solar system and interstellar space. The team was able to map the edge of this zone — a region called the heliopause. Here, the solar wind, which pushes out toward interstellar space, collides with the interstellar wind, which pushes in towards the Sun.

The first three-dimensional map of the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space–a region known as the heliopause. Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

To do this measurement, they used a technique similar to how bats use sonar. “Just as bats send out sonar pulses in every direction and use the return signal to create a mental map of their surroundings, we used the Sun’s solar wind, which goes out in all directions, to create a map of the heliosphere,” said Reisenfeld.

They did this by using IBEX satellite’s measurement of energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) that result from collisions between solar wind particles and those from the interstellar wind. The intensity of that signal depends on the intensity of the solar wind that strikes the heliosheath. When a wave hits the sheath, the ENA count goes up and IBEX can detect it.

“The solar wind ‘signal’ sent out by the Sun varies in strength, forming a unique pattern,” explained Reisenfeld. “IBEX will see that same pattern in the returning ENA signal, two to six years later, depending on ENA energy and the direction IBEX is looking through the heliosphere. This time difference is how we found the distance to the ENA-source region in a particular direction.”

They then applied this method to build the three-dimensional map, using data collected over a complete solar cycle, from 2009 through 2019.

“In doing this, we are able to see the boundary of the heliosphere in the same way a bat uses sonar to ‘see’ the walls of a cave,” he added.

The reason it takes so long for the signal to return to IBEX is because of the vast distances involved. Distances in the solar system are measured in astronomical units (AU) where 1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Reisenfeld’s map shows that the minimum distance from the Sun to the heliopause is about 120 AU in the direction facing the interstellar wind, and in the opposite direction, it extends at least 350 AU, which is the distance limit of the sounding technique. For reference, the orbit of Neptune is about 60 AU across.

Reference: “A Three-dimensional Map of the Heliosphere from IBEX” by Daniel B. Reisenfeld, Maciej Bzowski, Herbert O. Funsten, Jacob Heerikhuisen, Paul H. Janzen, Marzena A. Kubiak, David J. McComas, Nathan A. Schwadron, Justyna M. Sokół, Alex Zimorino and Eric J. Zirnstein, 10 June 2021, The Astrophysical Journal.
DOI: 10.3847/1538-4365/abf658

Types of Wind

The wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On the surface of the Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the Sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet’s atmosphere into space.

In meteorology, winds are often referred to according to their strength, and the direction from which the wind is blowing. Short bursts of high-speed wind are termed gusts. Strong winds of intermediate duration around one minute, are termed squalls. Long-duration winds have various names associated with their average strength, such as breeze, gale, storm, and hurricane.

1. Planetary Winds: Planetary winds comprise winds distributed throughout the lower atmosphere. The winds blow regularly throughout the year confined within latitudinal belts, mainly in north-east and south-east directions or from high-pressure polar-regions to low-pressure regions.

2. Trade Winds: These are extremely steady winds blowing from subtropical high-pressure areas (30°N and S) towards the equatorial low-pressure belt. These winds should have blown from the north to south in Northern Hemisphere and south to north in Southern Hemisphere, but, they get deflected to the right in Northern Hemisphere and to the left in Southern Hemisphere due to Coriolis effect and Ferrel’s law. Thus, they blow as northeastern trades in Northern Hemisphere and southeastern trades in Southern Hemisphere.

They are also known as tropical easterlies, and they blow steadily in the same direction. They are noted for consistency in both force and direction.

3. The Westerlies: The Westerlies are the winds in the middle latitudes in the ranges of 35 to 65 degrees. These winds blow from the west to the east and determine the traveling directions of extratropical cyclones in a similar direction. The winds are mainly from the northwest in the Southern Hemisphere and southwest in the Northern Hemisphere.

4. Periodic Winds: Periodic winds change their direction periodically with the change in season, e.g., Monsoons, Land and Sea Breezes, Mountain and Valley Breezes.

  • Monsoon Winds: These winds are seasonal and refer to wind systems that have a pronounced, seasonal reversal of direction. According to ‘Flohn’, monsoon is a seasonal modification of the general Planetary Wind System. The summer monsoon is called South Westerly Wind and is characterized by highly variable weather with frequent spells of drought and heavy rains. The winter monsoon is a gentle drift of air in which winds blow from the north-east and is known as North Easterly Wind.
  • Land Breeze: At night, landmasses cool quicker than sea due to rapid radiation which results in high pressure over land and low pressure overseas. And in calm, cloudless weather, air blows from land to sea. This breeze carries no moisture and is a little warm and dry.
  • Sea Breeze: In the daytime, the land being hotter than the sea develops low air pressure and the sea being cool develops high pressure. The air over land rises and is replaced by a cool breeze known as Sea Breeze from the sea, carrying some moisture.
  • Mountain and Valley Breezes: A diurnal wind occurs in mountainous regions which are similar to Land and Sea Breezes. During the day the slopes of mountains are hot and air from the valley flows up the slopes. This is known as “Valley Breeze”. After sunset, the pattern is reversed, and cold air slides from mountain to valley and is called “mountain breeze”.

5. Local Winds: The local difference in temperature and pressure causes local winds. It is of four types: hot, cold, convectional, and slope.

Author: Mitch Battros

Mitch Battros is a scientific journalist who is highly respected in both the scientific and spiritual communities due to his unique ability to bridge the gap between modern science and ancient text. Founded in 1995 – Earth Changes TV was born with Battros as its creator and chief editor for his syndicated television show. In 2003, he switched to a weekly radio show as Earth Changes Media. ECM quickly found its way in becoming a top source for news and discoveries in the scientific fields of astrophysics, space weather, earth science, and ancient text. Seeing the need to venture beyond the Sun-Earth connection, in 2016 Battros advanced his studies which incorporates our galaxy Milky Way - and its seemingly rhythmic cycles directly connected to our Solar System, Sun, and Earth driven by the source of charged particles such as galactic cosmic rays, gamma rays, and solar rays. Now, "Science Of Cycles" is the vehicle which brings the latest cutting-edge discoveries confirming his published Equation. View all posts by Mitch Battros

Watch the video: What is global circulation? Part Two. The three cells (January 2023).