Simultaneous observations of NLCs and MSEs at midlatitudes: Implications for formation and advection of ice particles
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We combined ground-based lidar observations of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) with collocated, simultaneous radar observations of mesospheric summer echoes (MSEs) in order to compare ice cloud altitudes at a midlatitude site (Kühlungsborn, Germany, 54° N, 12° E). Lidar observations are limited to larger particles ( > 10 nm), while radars are also sensitive to small particles ( < 10 nm), but require sufficient ionization and turbulence at the ice cloud altitudes. The combined lidar and radar data set thus includes some information on the size distribution within the cloud and through this on the of the cloud. The soundings for this study are carried out by the IAP Rayleigh-Mie-Raman (RMR) lidar and the OSWIN VHF radar. On average, there is no difference between the lower edges (lowNLC and lowMSE). The mean difference of the upper edges upNLC and upMSE is g1/4 500 m, which is much less than expected from observations at higher latitudes. In contrast to high latitudes, the MSEs above our location typically do not reach much higher than the NLCs. In addition to earlier studies from our site, this gives additional evidence for the supposition that clouds containing large enough particles to be observed by lidar are not formed locally but are advected from higher latitudes. During the advection process, the smaller particles in the upper part of the cloud either grow and sediment, or they sublimate. Both processes result in a thinning of the layer. High-altitude MSEs, usually indicating nucleation of ice particles, are rarely observed in conjunction with lidar observations of NLCs at Kühlungsborn. © Author(s) 2018.