All Physics Faculty Publications

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

American Geophysical Union 2016 Fall Meeting


American Geophysical Union

Publication Date



There are relatively few instruments that have the capabilities to make near continuous measurements of the mesosphere-lower-thermosphere (MLT) region. Rayleigh scatter and resonance lidars, particularly sodium resonance lidar, have been the two dominant ground-based techniques for acquiring mesosphere and MLT vertical temperature profiles, respectively, for more than two decades. With these measurements, the dynamics (gravity waves, tides) and long-term temperature trends (upper atmosphere cooling) of the MLT region can be studied. The Utah State University (USU; 41.7º N, 111.8º W) campus hosts a unique upper atmospheric observatory which houses both a high-power, large-aperture Rayleigh lidar and a sodium resonance Doppler lidar. For the first time, we will present coordinated, night-time averaged temperatures, overlapping in observational range (80-110 km), from the two lidars. This overlap has been achieved through the relocation of the sodium lidar from Colorado State University to USU’s campus and through upgrades to the existing USU Rayleigh lidar which elevated its observational range from 45-90 km to 70-115 km. The comparison of the two sets of temperature measurements is important because the two lidar techniques derive temperature profiles using different scattering processes and analysis methods. Furthermore, previous climatological comparisons, between Rayleigh and sodium lidar, [Argall and Sica, 2007] have suggested that significant temperature differences can occur. This comparison aims to explore possible temperature effects from the differences in the two measurement techniques.