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Journal/Book Title/Conference

APS Four Corners, 2006 Fall Meeting


Logan, UT

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In preparation for coordinated ground-based optical measurements with the recently launched NASA Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesopause (AIM) satellite we have examined data mainly from the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SBUV) instruments onboard the NOAA polar orbiting satellites. Our primary goal is to investigate the detection of Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMCs) over the North American continent using data over five consecutive years (2001-2005). PMCs are ice clouds that form near the extremely cold (<150K) mesopause region (80-85 km) during the summer months at high-latitudes. From the ground, these clous can be seen during twilight hours as Noctilucent or "night shining" Clouds (NLC). In particular, SBUV satellite observations have shown that the occurrence and brightness of PMCs have been growing over the last several decades prompting speculation concerning their role in climate change. In this poster we compare reports of displays seen from the ground over the North American continent primarily by observers participating in the Canadian Noctilucent Cloud Observing Network CAN AM with the SBUV as well as new Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite data. Our focus is to investigate the occurrence and spatial extent of the clouds, as well as to identify unusual low latitude events (<50 deg) that have occasionally been seen as far south as Logan, Utah.