Kelvin-Helmholz waves

13 May 2015

A fascinating bit of research at ... Kelvin-Helmholz waves in the atmosphere form when high speed wind blows over more stagnant air masses. The waves create turbulence and mix the air masses. They also frequently occur in Earth's magnetosphere and allow particles from the solar wind (the high speed element) to enter the magnetosphere to produce oscillations that affect Earth's protective radiation belts.

In other words, they are saying the physical process that creates breaking wave cloud patterns in our atmosphere also frequently opens the gate to high energy solar wind plasma disturbing Earth's magnetic field (which protects us from radiation). This sounds a lot like Bob Johnson in his talk at the SIS Spring Meeting (2015) - see the Power Point presentation (click on Meetings on this, the SIS web site) and the idea of plasma in the solar wind mixing with plasma in the atmosphere of the Earth.

Kelvin-Helmholz waves are common throughout the universe and create distinctive patterns - from Earth's clouds and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere of Jupiter (or that part of it that is visible to earthlings). It is all about research into how the magnetospheres work - in practise rather than theoretically.