University of Oulu

Chau, J. L., McKay, D., Vierinen, J. P., La Hoz, C., Ulich, T., Lehtinen, M., and Latteck, R.: Multi-static spatial and angular studies of polar mesospheric summer echoes combining MAARSY and KAIRA, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 9547-9560,, 2018

Multi-static spatial and angular studies of polar mesospheric summer echoes combining MAARSY and KAIRA

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Author: Chau, Jorge L.1; McKay, Derek2,3; Vierinen, Juha P.2;
Organizations: 1Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Rostock, Kühlungsborn, Germany
2University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
3Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Sodankylä, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Copernicus Publications, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-11-06


Polar mesospheric summer echoes (PMSEs) have been long associated with noctilucent clouds (NLCs). For large ice particles sizes and relatively high ice densities, PMSEs at 3m Bragg wavelengths are known to be good tracers of the atmospheric wind dynamics and to be highly correlated with NLC occurrence. Combining the Middle Atmosphere ALOMAR Radar System (MAARSY) and the Kilpisjärvi Atmospheric Imaging Receiver Array (KAIRA), i.e., monostatic and bistatic observations, we show for the first time direct evidence of limited-volume PMSE structures drifting more than 90km almost unchanged. These structures are shown to have horizontal widths of 5–15km and are separated by 20–60km, consistent with structures due to atmospheric waves previously observed in NLCs from the ground and from space. Given the lower sensitivity of KAIRA, the observed features are attributed to echoes from regions with high Schmidt numbers that provide a large radar cross section. The bistatic geometry allows us to determine an upper value for the angular sensitivity of PMSEs at meter scales. We find no evidence for strong aspect sensitivity for PMSEs, which is consistent with recent observations using radar imaging approaches. Our results indicate that multi-static all-sky interferometric radar observations of PMSEs could be a powerful tool for studying mesospheric wind fields within large geographic areas.

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Series: Atmospheric chemistry and physics
ISSN: 1680-7316
ISSN-E: 1680-7324
ISSN-L: 1680-7316
Volume: 18
Pages: 9547 - 9560
DOI: 10.5194/acp-18-9547-2018
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: This work was partially supported by the WATILA Project (SAW-2015-IAP-1). KAIRA was funded by the University of Oulu and the FP7 European Regional Development Fund and is operated by Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory with assistance from the University of Tromsø.
Dataset Reference: The MAARSY and KAIRA spectra data are available; interested users can contact the main author for the MAARSY and KAIRA spectral data. MAARSY raw data may be requested from Ralph Latteck.
Copyright information: © Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.