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Seasonal variations of midlatitude mesospheric Na layer and their tidal period perturbations based on full diurnal cycle Na lidar observations of 2002–2008

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Journal of Geophysical Research






American Geophysical Union

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The Na lidar facility at Colorado State University (41°N, 105°W) started the full diurnal cycle observations of mesopause region temperature and zonal and meridional winds as well as mesospheric Na density in May 2002. In this paper, monthly means and seasonal variations of the density of mesospheric Na based on lidar observations from May 2002 to December 2008 are reported along with the amplitude and phase of tidal period perturbations. The revealed seasonal behaviors of mesospheric Na layer are generally consistent with published nocturnal climatology, with thick layers and high abundance in winter but thin layers and low abundance near summer. Tidal amplitudes of Na density are large in February–April and August–November with a dominant peak between 85 and 90 km; they are weak in summer months (May–July). The Na density tidal phase profiles, while showing downward progression, show a significant and abrupt phase shift (ideally 180 degrees). The center altitude of this phase shifting (termed switching altitude) is found to coincide with the fractional tidal amplitude (tidal amplitude over diurnal mean) minimum about 2–4 km above the centroid altitude of the associated Na layer. Taking advantage of the established temperature tidal climatology deduced from the same data set, the tidal phase behaviors between temperature and Na density and associated fractional Na density tidal amplitudes are discussed in terms of the theoretical prediction by Gardner and Shelton (1985).


Originally Published by the American Geophysical Union in Journal of Geophysical Research :

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