Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Item
    Small scale density variations of electrons and charged particles in the vicinity of polar mesosphere summer echoes
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2003) Rapp, M.; Lübken, F.-J.; Blix, T.A.
    We present small scale variations of electron number densities and particle charge number densities measured in situ in the presence of polar mesosphere summer echoes. It turns out that the small scale fluctuations of electrons and negatively charged particles show a strong anticorrelation down to the smallest scales observed. Comparing these small scale structures with the simultaneously measured radar signal to noise profile, we find that the radar profile is well described by the power spectral density of both electrons and charged particles at the radar half wavelength (=the Bragg scale). Finally, we consider the shape of the power spectra of the observed plasma fluctuations and find that both charged particles and electrons show spectra that can be explained in terms of either neutral air turbulence acting on the distribution of a low diffusivity tracer or the fossil remnants of a formerly active turbulent region. All these results are consistent with the theoretical ideas by Rapp and Lübken (2003) suggesting that PMSE can be explained by a combination of active and fossil neutral air turbulence acting on the large and heavy charged aerosol particles which are subsequently mirrored in the electron number density distribution that becomes visible to a VHF radar when small scale fluctuations are present.
  • Item
    The atmospheric background situation in northern Scandinavia during January/February 2003 in the context of the MaCWAVE campaign
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2006) Blum, U.; Baumgarten, G.; Schöch, A.; Kirkwood, S.; Naujokat, B.; Fricke, K.H.
    The atmosphere background wind field controls the propagation of gravity waves from the troposphere through the stratosphere into the mesosphere. During January 2003 the MaCWAVE campaign took place at Esrange, with the purpose of observing vertically ascending waves induced by orography. Temperature data from the U. Bonn lidar at Esrange (68° N/21° E) and the ALOMAR RMR lidar (69° N/16° E), wind data from Esrange MST radar ESRAD, as well as wind data from the ECMWF T106 model, are used to analyse the atmospheric background situation and its effect on mountain wave propagation during January/February 2003. Critical levels lead to dissipation of vertically ascending waves, thus mountain waves are not observable above those levels. In the first half of January a minor as well as a major stratospheric warming dominated the meteorological background situation. These warmings led to a wind reversal, thus to critical level filtering and consequently prevented gravity waves from propagating to high altitudes. While the troposphere was not transparent for stationary gravity waves most of the time, there was a period of eight days following the major warming with a transparent stratosphere, with conditions allowing gravity waves generated in the lower troposphere to penetrate the stratosphere up to the stratopause and sometimes even into the lower mesosphere. In the middle of February a minor stratospheric warming occurred, which again led to critical levels such that gravity waves were not able to ascend above the middle stratosphere. Due to the unfavourable troposphere and lower stratosphere conditions for gravity wave excitation and propagation, the source of the observed waves in the middle atmosphere is probably different from orography.
  • Item
    The thermal and dynamical state of the atmosphere during polar mesosphere winter echoes
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2006) Lübken, F.-J.; Strelnikov, B.; Rapp, M.; Singer, W.; Latteck, R.; Brattli, A.; Hoppe, U.-P.; Friedrich, M.
    In January 2005, a total of 18 rockets were launched from the Andøya Rocket Range in Northern Norway (69° N) into strong VHF radar echoes called "Polar Mesosphere Winter Echoes" (PMWE). The echoes were observed in the lower and middle mesosphere during large solar proton fluxes. In general, PMWE occur much more seldom compared to their summer counterparts PMSE (typical occurrence rates at 69° N are 1–3% vs. 80%, respectively). Our in-situ measurements by falling sphere, chaff, and instrumented payloads provide detailed information about the thermal and dynamical state of the atmosphere and therefore allow an unprecedented study of the background atmosphere during PMWE. There are a number of independent observations indicating that neutral air turbulence has caused PMWE. Ion density fluctuations show a turbulence spectrum within PMWE and no fluctuations outside. Temperature lapse rates close to the adiabatic gradient are observed in the vicinity of PMWE indicating persistent turbulent mixing. The spectral broadening of radar echoes is consistent with turbulent velocity fluctuations. Turbulence also explains the mean occurrence height of PMWE (~68–75 km): viscosity increases rapidly with altitude and destroys any small scale fluctuations in the upper mesosphere, whereas electron densities are usually too low in the lower mesosphere to cause significant backscatter. The seasonal variation of echoes in the lower mesosphere is in agreement with a turbulence climatology derived from earlier sounding rocket flights. We have performed model calculations to study the radar backscatter from plasma fluctuations caused by neutral air turbulence. We find that volume reflectivities observed during PMWE are in quantitative agreement with theory. Apart from turbulence the most crucial requirement for PMWE is a sufficiently large number of electrons, for example produced by solar proton events. We have studied the sensitivity of the radar echo strength on various parameters, most important electron number density and turbulence intensity. Our observational and theoretical considerations do not provide any evidence that charged aerosol particles are needed to explain PMWE, in contrast to the summer echoes which owe their existence to charged ice particles.
  • Item
    Influence of tides and gravity waves on layering processes in the polar summer mesopause region
    (Göttingen : Copernicus, 2008) Hoffmann, P.; Rapp, M.; Fiedler, J.; Latteck, R.
    Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) have been studied at Andenes (69° N, 16° E), Norway, using VHF radar observations since 1994. One remarkable feature of these observations is the fact that {during 50% of the time,} the radar echoes occur in the form of two or more distinct layers. In the case of multiple PMSE layers, statistical analysis shows that the lower layer occurs at a mean height of ∼83.4 km, which is almost identical to the mean height of noctilucent clouds (NLC) derived from observation with the ALOMAR Rayleigh/Mie/Raman lidar at the same site. To investigate the layering processes microphysical model simulations under the influence of tidal and gravity waves were performed. In the presence of long period gravity waves, these model investigations predict an enhanced formation of multiple PMSE layer structures, where the lower layer is a consequence of the occurrence of the largest particles at the bottom of the ice cloud. This explains the coincidence of the lowermost PMSE layers and NLC. During periods with enhanced amplitudes of the semidiurnal tide, the observed NLC and PMSE show pronounced tidal structures comparable to the results of corresponding microphysical simulations. At periods with short period gravity waves there is a tendency for a decreasing occurrence of NLC and for variable weak PMSE structures.
  • Item
    Long-term behavior of the concentration of the minor constituents in the mesosphere-a model study
    (Göttingen : Copernicus, 2009) Grygalashvyly, M.; Sonnemann, G.R.; Hartogh, P.
    We investigate the influence the rising concentrations of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide which have occurred since the pre-industrial era, have had on the chemistry of the mesosphere. For this investigation we use our global 3-D-model COMMA-IAP which was designed for the exploration of the MLT-region and in particular the extended mesopause region. Assumptions and approximations for the trends in the Lyman-flux (needed for the water vapor dissociation rate), methane and the water vapor mixing ratio at the hygropause are necessary to accomplish this study. To approximate the solar Lyman-α flux back to the pre-industrial time, we derived a quadratic fit using the sunspot number record which extends back to 1749 and is the only solar proxy available for the Lyman-α flux prior to 1947. We assume that methane increases with a constant growth rate from the pre-industrial era to the present. An unsolved problem for the model calculations consists of how the water vapor mixing ratio at the hygropause should be specified during this period. We assume that the hygropause was dryer during pre-industrial times than the present. As a consequence of methane oxidation, the model simulation indicates that the middle atmosphere has become more humid as a result of the rising methane concentration, but with some dependence on height and with a small time delay of few years. The solar influence on the water vapor mixing ratio is insignificant below about 80 km in summer high latitudes, but becomes increasingly more important above this altitude. The enhanced water vapor concentration increasesthe hydrogen radical concentration and reduces the mesospheric ozone. A second region of stronger ozone decrease is located in the vicinity of the stratopause. Increases in CO2 concentration enhance slightly the concentration of CO in the mesosphere. However, its influence upon the chemistry is small and its main effect is connected with a cooling of the upper atmosphere. The long-term behavior of water vapor is discussed in particular with respect to its impact on the NLC region.
  • Item
    Infrasound - The cause of strong Polar Mesosphere Winter Echoes?
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2006) Kirkwood, S.; Chilson, P.; Belova, E.; Dalin, P.; Häggström, I.; Rietveld, M.; Singer, W.
    The ESRAD 52-MHz and the EISCAT 224-MHz radars in northern Scandinavia observed thin layers of strongly enhanced radar echoes from the mesosphere (Polar Mesosphere Winter Echoes - PMWE) during a solar proton event in November 2004. Using the interferometric capabilities of ESRAD it was found that the scatterers responsible for PMWE show very high horizontal travel speeds, up to 500 ms-1 or more, and high aspect sensitivity, with echo arrival angles spread over as little as 0.3°. ESRAD also detected, on some occasions, discrete scattering regions moving across the field of view with periodicities of a few seconds. The very narrow, vertically directed beam of the more powerful EISCAT radar allowed measurements of the spectral widths of the radar echoes both inside the PMWE and from the background plasma above and below the PMWE. Spectral widths inside the PMWE were found to be indistinguishable from those from the background plasma. We propose that scatter from highly-damped ion-acoustic waves generated by partial reflection of infrasonic waves provides a reasonable explanation of the characteristics of the very strong PMWE reported here.
  • Item
    Large mesospheric ice particles at exceptionally high altitudes
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2009) Megner, L.; Khaplanov, M.; Baumgarten, G.; Gumbel, J.; Stegman, J.; Strelnikov, B.; Robertson, S.
    We here report on the characteristics of exceptionally high Noctilucent clouds (NLC) that were detected with rocket photometers during the ECOMA/MASS campaign at Andøya, Norway 2007. The results from three separate flights are shown and discussed in connection to lidar measurements. Both the lidar measurements and the large difference between various rocket passages through the NLC show that the cloud layer was inhomogeneous on large scales. Two passages showed a particularly high, bright and vertically extended cloud, reaching to approximately 88 km. Long time series of lidar measurements show that NLC this high are very rare, only one NLC measurement out of thousand reaches above 87 km. The NLC is found to consist of three distinct layers. All three were bright enough to allow for particle size retrieval by phase function analysis, even though the lowest layer proved too horizontally inhomogeneous to obtain a trustworthy result. Large particles, corresponding to an effective radius of 50 nm, were observed both in the middle and top of the NLC. The present cloud does not comply with the conventional picture that NLC ice particles nucleate near the temperature minimum and grow to larger sizes as they sediment to lower altitudes. Strong up-welling, likely caused by gravity wave activity, is required to explain its characteristics.
  • Item
    The influence of geomagnetic activity on mesospheric summer echoes in middle and polar latitudes
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2009) Zeller, O.; Bremer, J.
    The dependence of mesospheric VHF radar echoes during summer months on geomagnetic activity has been investigated with observation data of the OSWIN radar in Kühlungsborn (54° N) and of the ALWIN radar in Andenes (69° N). Using daily mean values of VHF radar echoes and of geomagnetic activity indices in superimposed epoch analyses, the comparison of both data sets shows in general stronger radar echoes on the day of the maximum geomagnetic activity, the maximum value one day after the geomagnetic disturbance, and enhanced radar echoes also on the following 2–3 days. This phenomenon is observed at middle and polar latitudes and can be explained by precipitating particle fluxes during the ionospheric post storm effect. At polar latitudes, the radar echoes decrease however during and one day after very strong geomagnetic disturbances. The possible reason of this surprising effect is discussed.
  • Item
    Similarities and differences in polar mesosphere summer echoes observed in the Arctic and Antarctica
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2008) Latteck, R.; Singer, W.; Morris, R.J.; Hocking, W.K.; Murphy, D.J.; Holdsworth, D.A.; Swarnalingam, N.
    Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) have been observed in the high latitudes of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere for several years using VHF radars located at Andenes/Norway (69° N, 16° E), Resolute Bay/Canada (75° N, 95° W), and Davis/Antarctica (69° S, 78° E). The VHF radars at the three sites were calibrated using the same methods (noise source and delayed transmitting signal) and identical equipment. Volume reflectivity was derived from the calibrated echo power and the characteristics of the seasonal variation of PMSE were estimated at the sites for the years 2004 to 2007. The largest peak volume reflectivity of about 2×10−9 m−1 was observed at Andenes compared with their counterparts at Davis (~4×10−11 m−1) and Resolute Bay (~6×10−12 m−1). The peak of the PMSE height distribution is 85.6 km at Davis which is about 1 km higher than at Andenes. At Resolute Bay the height distribution peaks at about 85 km but only a few layers were found below 84 km. The mean PMSE occurrence rate is 83% at Andenes, 38% at Davis with larger variability and only 18% at Resolute Bay (in late summer). The duration of the PMSE season varies at Andenes from 104 to 113 days and at Davis from 88 to 93 days. In general the PMSE seasons starts about 5 days later at Davis and ends about 10 days earlier compared to Andenes. In all three seasons the PMSE occurrence suddenly drops to a much lower level at Davis about 32 days after solstice whereas the PMSE season decays smoothly at Andenes. The duration of the PMSE season at Andenes and Davis is highly correlated with the presence of equatorward directed winds, the observed differences in PMSE occurrence are related to the mesospheric temperatures at both sites.
  • Item
    Study of the tidal variations in mesospheric temperature at low and mid latitudes from WINDII and potassium lidar observations
    (Göttingen : Copernicus GmbH, 2004) Shepherd, M.; Fricke-Begemann, C.
    Zonal mean daytime temperatures from the Wind Imaging Interferometer (WINDII) on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) and nightly temperatures from a potassium (K) lidar are employed in the study of the tidal variations in mesospheric temperature at low and mid latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. The analysis is applied to observations at 89 km height for winter solstice, December to February (DJF), at 55° N, and for May and November at 28° N. The WINDII results are based on observations from 1991 to 1997. The K-lidar observations for DJF at Kühlungsborn (54° N) were from 1996-1999, while those for May and November at Tenerife 28° N were from 1999. To avoid possible effects from year-to-year variability in the temperatures observed, as well as differences due to instrument calibration and observation periods, the mean temperature field is removed from the respective data sets, assuming that only tidal and planetary scale perturbations remain in the temperature residuals. The latter are then binned in 0.5 h periods and the individual data sets are fitted in a least-mean square sense to 12-h and 8-h harmonics, to infer semidiurnal and terdiurnal tidal parameters. Both the K-lidar and WINDII independently observed a strong semidiurnal tide in November, with amplitudes of 13 K and 7.4 K, respectively. Good agreement was also found in the tidal parameters derived from the two data sets for DJF and May. It was recognized that insufficient local time coverage of the two separate data sets could lead to an overestimation of the semidiurnal tidal amplitude. A combined ground-based/satellite data set with full diurnal local time coverage was created which was fitted to 24 h+ 12 h+8 h harmonics and a novel method applied to account for possible differences between the daytime and nighttime means. The results still yielded a strong semidiurnal tide in November at 28° N with an amplitude of 8.8 K which is twice the SD amplitude in May and DJF. The diurnal tidal parameters were practically the same at 28° N and 55° N, in November and DJF, respectively, with an amplitude of 6.5 K and peaking at ∼9h. The diurnal and semidiurnal amplitudes in May were about the same, 4 K, and 4.6 K, while the terdiurnal tide had the same amplitudes and phases in May and November at 28° N. Good agreement is found with other experimental data while models tend to underestimate the amplitudes.