Thermospheric wind measurements obtained from linear non-gravitational accelerations of the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite show discrepancies when compared to ground-based measurements. In this paper the cross-wind is derived from both the linear and the angular accelerations using a newly developed iterative algorithm. The two resulting data sets are compared to test the validity of wind derived from angular accelerations and quantify the uncertainty in accelerometer-derived wind data. In general the difference is found to be less than 50 m/s vertically after high-pass filtering, and 100 m/s horizontally. A sensitivity analysis reveals that continuous thrusting is a major source of uncertainty in the torque-derived wind, as are the magnetic properties of the satellite. The energy accommodation coefficient is identified as a particularly promising parameter for improving the consistency of thermospheric cross-wind data sets in the future. The algorithm may be applied to obtain density and cross-wind from other satellite missions that lack accelerometer data, provided the attitude and orbit are known with sufficient accuracy.
- Angular accelerations
- Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE)
- Thermospheric wind
- Vertical wind