Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Intermountain Graduate Research Symposium

Publication Date

April 2012


The mesosphere is the most unexplored region of the atmosphere. Its altitude range of 50-85 km lies in between the reaches of data collecting instruments like weather balloons and satellites. For this reason, remote sensing systems, such as lidar, which are able to employ ground-based instruments to make extensive measurements in this difficult to detect region. The Rayleigh-scatter lidar at USU is currently being redeveloped to be the most powerful and sensitive of its kind. This type of lidar exploits light and particle interactions, like those that account for the blue color of the sky, to make relative density and absolute temperature measurements. In turn, the variation in these densities and temperatures can be analyzed to further explore atmospheric phenomena that are either the cause of or caused by these variations. By increasing the power output and measurement sensitivity, this lidar system will be unique in its expansive altitude range and in its capabilities of measuring small spatial and time scale atmospheric phenomena. Atmospheric gravity waves are one form of such phenomena that will be studied, as they are an important component of atmospheric dynamics.