Funny how that works. The Earth gets about 1.7E17 Watts from the Sun, or about a billion times more--but apparently most doesn't effect this layer of the atmosphere. Solar flares can change a lot of pictures, though.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Toasty times in the thermosphere
I have to admit that I'd not heard of the thermosphere of Earth's atmosphere before. That's up with the auroras and the Space Station, with a lower end driven by atmospheric tides and middle and upper too thin to support bulk gas motion on this kind of distance scale. The last solar flare dumped 26 billion KWhr of energy into the atmosphere at that level. Which sounds kind of huge, though it turns out to be about 0.1Watt-hr per square meter. Over a three day period. But it is quite a bit more than usually gets absorbed at that level.