Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Mike Taylor (Committee Chair)


Mike Taylor


Ludger Scherliess


Jim Wheeler


Atmospheric gravity waves (GW) occur throughout the atmosphere, propagating from copious sources in the lower atmosphere into the upper neutral atmosphere and ionosphere. There are many sources of GW, most of them are associated with strong weather disturbances which are highly transient in nature. Another source of GW are strong winds blowing over prominent mountains that generate mountain waves (MW.) An important property of all of these waves is that they propagate upwards, carrying large amounts of energy and momentum which can be deposited in the upper atmosphere as the waves saturate and break. The Andes Lidar Observatory (ALO) was established in 2009 with the primary goal to investigate the dynamics of the mesosphere over the massive Andes Mountains. The Mesospheric Temperature Mapper (MTM), developed by Utah State University, was installed at ALO (30°S, 70°W) in Chile in 2009 with two goals: a) to investigate novel temperature signatures of MW expected over the Andes and b) to obtain seasonal measurements of mesospheric temperature over this isolated region. The MTM obtains these data by measuring the OH airglow emission from which the temperature of the OH layer and the GW activity can be obtained. This study builds on previous work and continues to show the close correlation between the MTM temperature and simultaneous overpass measurements of mesospheric temperature made by the SABER instrument on the NASA TIMED satellite. The MTM consistently revealed a warm bias (~5K) over several years. The TIMED satellite was launched in 2001 and continues to provide near global atmospheric temperature data. Furthermore, an initial examination of MW events is presented. Important properties such as temperature perturbation and event structure are analyzed. These parameters will provide an initial overview of wave activity in the region.