Upward propagating acoustic waves heat the atmosphere at essentially all heights due to effects of viscous dissipation, sensible heat flux divergence, and Eulerian drift work. Acoustic wave-induced pressure gradient work provides a cooling effect at all heights, but this is overwhelmed by the heating processes. Eulerian drift work and wave-induced pressure gradient work dominate the energy balance, but they nearly cancel at most altitudes, leaving their difference, together with viscous dissipation and sensible heat flux divergence to heat the atmosphere. Acoustic waves are very different from gravity waves which cool the upper atmosphere through the effect of sensible heat flux divergence. Acoustic wave dissipation could be an important source of upper atmospheric heating.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
American Geophysical Union
Scholarly Commons Citation
Schubert, G., Hickey, M. P., & Walterscheid, R. L. (2005). Physical Processes in Acoustic Wave Heating of the Thermosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 110(D7). https://doi.org/10.1029/2004JD005488