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Thermospheric Gravity Wave Observations Over Alaska Using the Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar

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It is now well known that atmospheric gravity waves play important roles in the mesosphere lower thermosphere (MLT) region (~80 - 110 km) through momentum deposition [e.g. Fritts and Alexander, 2003]. Observational and modeling studies in the past decade have revealed the importance of these waves in the higher thermospheric region (~110 - 400 km) as they contribute significantly to changes in both winds and temperatures [e.g. Vadas and Fritts, 2005]. Although case studies have revealed their presence in the thermosphere [e.g. Nicolls and Heinselman, 2007], the distributions and variability of thermospheric gravity wave parameters are unknown. Recently, a four year collaborative observational effort utilizing an all-sky airglow imager, Rayleigh lidar, and the Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar (PFISR) has been performed over interior Alaska to study a broad spectrum of gravity waves throughout the troposphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. This presentation details the process of obtaining wave parameters from PFISR (based on a method developed by Nicolls and Heinselman, 2007) and presents preliminary wave period distributions for the winter season of 2010 - 2011. These distributions are compared to results obtained with a co-located mesospheric airglow imager.


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