Neutral Density Climatology of the Mesosphere Taken by the Green Beam Above USU


David Barton

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USU Student Showcase

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A Rayleigh-scatter lidar operated at the Atmospheric Lidar Observatory (ALO), part of CASS on the campus of Utah State University (USU), and collected extensive data between 1993 and 2004. From the Rayleigh lidar photon-count returns relative densities throughout the mesosphere, from 45 to 90 km, were determined. Using these relative densities three density climatologies were derived, each using a different density normalization at 45 km. The first normalized the relative densities to a constant; the second normalized them to the NRL-MSISe00 empirical model, which has a strong semiannual component; and the third normalized them to the CPC analyses model, which has a strong annual component. In each case the density profile for every night of a composite year was found by averaging the nighttime density profiles in a 31-day by 11-year window centered on that day. Despite the different normalizations, many common features were found in the seasonal behavior of the densities. One is a large seasonal variation maximizing in June at ~70 km. Another, above 80 km was a large shift in the maximum to earlier in the year. While these relative densities provide much useful information about mesospheric behavior, the current lidar upgrade will add an absolute.

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