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Response of polar mesosphere summer echoes to geomagnetic disturbances in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres: the importance of nitric oxide
S. Kirkwood, E. Belova, P. Dalin, M. Mihalikova, D. Mikhaylova, D. Murtagh, H. Nilsson, K. Satheesan, J. Urban,I. Wolf
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2013,
Abstract: The relationship between polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE) and geomagnetic disturbances (represented by magnetic K indices) is examined. Calibrated PMSE reflectivities for the period May 2006–February 2012 are used from two 52.0/54.5 MHz radars located in Arctic Sweden (68° N, geomagnetic latitude 65°) and at two different sites in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica (73°/72° S, geomagnetic latitudes 62°/63°). In both the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and the Southern Hemisphere (SH) there is a strong increase in mean PMSE reflectivity between quiet and disturbed geomagnetic conditions. Mean volume reflectivities are slightly lower at the SH locations compared to the NH, but the position of the peak in the lognormal distribution of PMSE reflectivities is close to the same at both NH and SH locations, and varies only slightly with magnetic disturbance level. Differences between the sites, and between geomagnetic disturbance levels, are primarily due to differences in the high-reflectivity tail of the distribution. PMSE occurrence rates are essentially the same at both NH and SH locations during most of the PMSE season when a sufficiently low detection threshold is used so that the peak in the lognormal distribution is included. When the local-time dependence of the PMSE response to geomagnetic disturbance level is considered, the response in the NH is found to be immediate at most local times, but delayed by several hours in the afternoon sector and absent in the early evening. At the SH sites, at lower magnetic latitude, there is a delayed response (by several hours) at almost all local times. At the NH (auroral zone) site, the dependence on magnetic disturbance is highest during evening-to-morning hours. At the SH (sub-auroral) sites the response to magnetic disturbance is weaker but persists throughout the day. While the immediate response to magnetic activity can be qualitatively explained by changes in electron density resulting from energetic particle precipitation, the delayed response can largely be explained by changes in nitric oxide concentrations. Observations of nitric oxide concentration at PMSE heights by the Odin satellite support this hypothesis. Sensitivity to geomagnetic disturbances, including nitric oxide produced during these disturbances, can explain previously reported differences between sites in the auroral zone and those at higher or lower magnetic latitudes. The several-day lifetime of nitric oxide can also explain earlier reported discrepancies between high correlations for average conditions (year-by-year PMSE reflectivities and K indices) and low correlations for minute-to-day timescales.
Polar mesosphere summer echoes during the July 2000 solar protonevent
V. Barabash, S. Kirkwood, A. Feofilov,A. Kutepov
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2004,
Abstract: The influence of the solar proton event (SPE) 14–16 July 2000 on Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) is examined. PMSE were observed by the Esrange VHF MST Radar (ESRAD) at 67°53'N, 21°06'E. The 30MHz Imaging Riometer for Ionospheric Studies IRIS in Kilpisj rvi (69°30'N, 20°47'E) registered cosmic radio noise absorption caused by ionisation changes in response to the energetic particle precipitation. An energy deposition/ion-chemical model was used to estimate the density of free electrons and ions in the upper atmosphere. Particle collision frequencies were calculated from the MSISE-90 model. Electric fields were calculated using conductivities from the model and measured magnetic disturbances. The electric field reached a maximum of 91mV/m during the most intensive period of the geomagnetic storm accompanying the SPE. The temperature increase due to Joule and particle heating was calculated, taking into account radiative cooling. The temperature increase at PMSE heights was found to be very small. The observed PMSE were rather intensive and extended over the 80–90km height interval. PMSE almost disappeared above 86km at the time of greatest Joule heating on 15 July 2000. Neither ionisation changes, nor Joule/particle heating can explain the PMSE reduction. Transport effects due to the strong electric field are a more likely explanation. Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmospheric dynamics), ionosphere (ionospheric disturbances; solar radiation and cosmic ray effects) Full Article (PDF, 1288 KB) Citation: Barabash, V., Kirkwood, S., Feofilov, A., and Kutepov, A.: Polar mesosphere summer echoes during the July 2000 solar protonevent, Ann. Geophys., 22, 759-771, doi:10.5194/angeo-22-759-2004, 2004. Bibtex EndNote Reference Manager XML
Simultaneous observations of Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes at two different latitudes in Antarctica
H. Nilsson, S. Kirkwood, R. J. Morris, R. Latteck, A. R. Klekociuk, D. J. Murphy, M. Zecha,E. Belova
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2008,
Abstract: Simultaneous observations of Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) at Wasa and Davis in Antarctica have been compared. Data with simultaneous observations were obtained for 16 days between 18 January and 5 February 2007. Wasa is at a higher geographic latitude than Davis, but at lower geomagnetic latitude. PMSE strength and occurrence frequency were significantly higher at Wasa. The variation of daily PMSE occurrence over the measurement period was in agreement with temperature and frost-point estimates from the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Aura spacecraft for both Wasa and Davis. The diurnal variation of PMSE strength and occurrence frequency as well as the shape of the altitude profiles of average PMSE strength and occurrence frequency were similar for the two sites. The deepest part of the evening minimum in PMSE occurrence frequency occurred for the same magnetic local time at the two sites rather than for the same local solar time. The study indicates that PMSE strength and occurrence increase between 68.6° and 73° geographic latitude, consistent with observed differences in mesospheric temperatures and water vapor content. The average altitude distribution of PMSE varies relatively little with latitude in the same hemisphere.
The influence of geomagnetic activity on mesospheric summer echoes in middle and polar latitudes
O. Zeller,J. Bremer
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2009,
Abstract: The dependence of mesospheric VHF radar echoes during summer months on geomagnetic activity has been investigated with observation data of the OSWIN radar in Kühlungsborn (54° N) and of the ALWIN radar in Andenes (69° N). Using daily mean values of VHF radar echoes and of geomagnetic activity indices in superimposed epoch analyses, the comparison of both data sets shows in general stronger radar echoes on the day of the maximum geomagnetic activity, the maximum value one day after the geomagnetic disturbance, and enhanced radar echoes also on the following 2–3 days. This phenomenon is observed at middle and polar latitudes and can be explained by precipitating particle fluxes during the ionospheric post storm effect. At polar latitudes, the radar echoes decrease however during and one day after very strong geomagnetic disturbances. The possible reason of this surprising effect is discussed.
Finland HF and Esrange MST radar observations of polar mesosphere summer echoes  [PDF]
T. Ogawa,N. F. Arnold,S. Kirkwood,N. Nishitani
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: Peculiar near range echoes observed in summer with the SuperDARN HF radar in Finland are presented. The echoes were detected at four frequencies of 9, 11, 13 and 15 MHz at slant ranges of 105–250 km for about 100 min. Interferometer measurements indicate that the echoes are returned from 80–100 km altitudes with elevation angles of 20°–60°. Echo power (< 16 dB), Doppler velocity (between –30 and + 30 ms-1) and spectral width (< 60 ms-1) fluctuate with periods of several to 20 min, perhaps due to short–period atmospheric gravity waves. When the HF radar detected the echoes, a vertical incidence MST radar, located at Esrange in Sweden (650 km north of the HF radar site), observed polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE) at altitudes of 80–90 km. This fact suggests that the near range HF echoes are PMSE at HF band, although both radars did not probe a common volume. With increasing radar frequency, HF echo ranges are closer to the radar site and echo power becomes weaker. Possible mechanisms to explain these features are discussed. Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; thermospheric dynamics; waves and tides; instruments and techniques)
Polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE): review of observations and current understanding  [PDF]
M. Rapp,F.-J. Lübken
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions , 2004,
Abstract: Polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE) are very strong radar echoes primarily studied in the VHF wavelength range from altitudes close to the polar summer mesopause. Radar waves are scattered at irregularities in the radar refractive index which at mesopause altitudes is solely determined by the electron number density. For efficient scatter, the electron number density must reveal structures at the radar half wavelength (Bragg condition; ~3 m for typical VHF radars). The question how such small scale electron number density structures are created in the mesopause region has been a longstanding open scientific question for almost 30 years. This paper reviews experimental and theoretical milestones on the way to an advanced understanding of PMSE. Based on new experimental results from in situ observations with sounding rockets, ground based observations with radars and lidars, numerical simulations with microphysical models of the life cycle of mesospheric aerosol particles, and theoretical considerations regarding the diffusivity of electrons in the ice loaded complex plasma of the mesopause region, a consistent explanation for the generation of these radar echoes has been developed. The main idea is that mesospheric neutral air turbulence in combination with a significantly reduced electron diffusivity due to the presence of heavy charged ice aerosol particles (radii ~5–50 nm) leads to the creation of structures at spatial scales significantly smaller than the inner scale of the turbulent velocity field itself. Importantly, owing to their very low diffusivity, the plasma structures acquire a very long lifetime, i.e. 10 min to hours in the presence of particles with radii between 10 and 50 nm. This leads to a temporal decoupling of active neutral air turbulence and the existence of small scale plasma structures and PMSE and thus readily explains observations proving the absence of neutral air turbulence at PMSE altitudes. With this explanation at hand, it becomes clear that PMSE are a suitable tool to permanently monitor the thermal and dynamical structure of the mesopause region allowing insights into important atmospheric key parameters like temperatures, winds, gravity wave parameters, turbulence, solar cycle effects, and long term changes.
Polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE): Review of observations and current understanding  [PDF]
M. Rapp,F.-J. Lübken
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) & Discussions (ACPD) , 2004,
Abstract: Polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE) are very strong radar echoes primarily studied in the VHF wavelength range from altitudes close to the polar summer mesopause. Radar waves are scattered at irregularities in the radar refractive index which at mesopause altitudes is effectively determined by the electron number density. For efficient scatter, the electron number density must reveal structures at the radar half wavelength (Bragg condition for monostatic radars; ~3 m for typical VHF radars). The question how such small scale electron number density structures are created in the mesopause region has been a longstanding open scientific question for almost 30 years. This paper reviews experimental and theoretical milestones on the way to an advanced understanding of PMSE. Based on new experimental results from in situ observations with sounding rockets, ground based observations with radars and lidars, numerical simulations with microphysical models of the life cycle of mesospheric aerosol particles, and theoretical considerations regarding the diffusivity of electrons in the ice loaded complex plasma of the mesopause region, a consistent explanation for the generation of these radar echoes has been developed. The main idea is that mesospheric neutral air turbulence in combination with a significantly reduced electron diffusivity due to the presence of heavy charged ice aerosol particles (radii ~5–50 nm) leads to the creation of structures at spatial scales significantly smaller than the inner scale of the neutral gas turbulent velocity field itself. Importantly, owing to their very low diffusivity, the plasma structures acquire a very long lifetime, i.e., 10 min to hours in the presence of particles with radii between 10 and 50 nm. This leads to a temporal decoupling of active neutral air turbulence and the existence of small scale plasma structures and PMSE and thus readily explains observations proving the absence of neutral air turbulence at PMSE altitudes. With this explanation at hand, it becomes clear that PMSE are a suitable tool to permanently monitor the thermal and dynamical structure of the mesopause region allowing insights into important atmospheric key parameters like neutral temperatures, winds, gravity wave parameters, turbulence, solar cycle effects, and long term changes.
Polar mesosphere summer echoes: a comparison of simultaneous observations at three wavelengths
E. Belova, P. Dalin,S. Kirkwood
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2008,
Abstract: On 5 July 2005, simultaneous observations of Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) were made using the EISCAT VHF (224 MHz) and UHF (933 MHz) radars located near Troms , Norway and the ALWIN VHF radar (53.5 MHz) situated on And ya, 120 km SW of the EISCAT site. During the short interval from 12:20 UT until 12:26 UT strong echoes at about 84 km altitude were detected with all three radars. The radar volume reflectivities were found to be 4×10 13 m 1, 1.5×10 14 m 1 and 1.5×10 18 m 1 for the ALWIN, EISCAT-VHF and UHF radars, respectively. We have calculated the reflectivity ratios for each pair of radars and have compared them to ratios obtained from the turbulence-theory model proposed by Hill (1978a). We have tested different values of the turbulent energy dissipation rate ε and Schmidt number Sc, which are free parameters in the model, to try to fit theoretical reflectivity ratios to the experimental ones. No single combination of the parameters ε and Sc could be found to give a good fit. Spectral widths for the EISCAT radars were estimated from the spectra computed from the autocorrelation functions obtained in the experiment. After correction for beam-width broadening, the spectral widths are about 4 m/s for the EISCAT-VHF and 1.5–2 m/s for the UHF radar. However, according to the turbulence theory, the spectral widths in m/s should be the same for both radars. We also tested an incoherent scatter (IS) model developed by Cho et al. (1998), which takes into account the presence of charged aerosols/dust at the summer mesopause. It required very different sizes of particles for the EISCAT-VHF and UHF cases, to be able to fit the experimental spectra with model spectra. This implies that the IS model cannot explain PMSE spectra, at least not for monodisperse distributions of particles.
Similarities and differences in polar mesosphere summer echoes observed in the Arctic and Antarctica
R. Latteck, W. Singer, R. J. Morris, W. K. Hocking, D. J. Murphy, D. A. Holdsworth,N. Swarnalingam
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2008,
Abstract: Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) have been observed in the high latitudes of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere for several years using VHF radars located at Andenes/Norway (69° N, 16° E), Resolute Bay/Canada (75° N, 95° W), and Davis/Antarctica (69° S, 78° E). The VHF radars at the three sites were calibrated using the same methods (noise source and delayed transmitting signal) and identical equipment. Volume reflectivity was derived from the calibrated echo power and the characteristics of the seasonal variation of PMSE were estimated at the sites for the years 2004 to 2007. The largest peak volume reflectivity of about 2×10 9 m 1 was observed at Andenes compared with their counterparts at Davis (~4×10 11 m 1) and Resolute Bay (~6×10 12 m 1). The peak of the PMSE height distribution is 85.6 km at Davis which is about 1 km higher than at Andenes. At Resolute Bay the height distribution peaks at about 85 km but only a few layers were found below 84 km. The mean PMSE occurrence rate is 83% at Andenes, 38% at Davis with larger variability and only 18% at Resolute Bay (in late summer). The duration of the PMSE season varies at Andenes from 104 to 113 days and at Davis from 88 to 93 days. In general the PMSE seasons starts about 5 days later at Davis and ends about 10 days earlier compared to Andenes. In all three seasons the PMSE occurrence suddenly drops to a much lower level at Davis about 32 days after solstice whereas the PMSE season decays smoothly at Andenes. The duration of the PMSE season at Andenes and Davis is highly correlated with the presence of equatorward directed winds, the observed differences in PMSE occurrence are related to the mesospheric temperatures at both sites.
Occurrence of polar mesosphere summer echoes at very high latitudes
M. Zecha,J. R ttger
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2009,
Abstract: Observations of polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE) have been carried out during the summer periodes 1999–2001 and 2003–2004 at the very high latitude of 78° N using the SOUSY Svalbard Radar (53.5 MHz) at Longyearbyen. Although the measurements could not be done continuously in these seasons, PMSE have been detected over more than 6600 h of 9300 h of observation time overall. Using this data base, particular PMSE occurrence characteristics have been determined. PMSE at Svalbard appear from the middle of May to the end of August with an almost permanent total occurrence in June and July. Diurnal variations are observable in the height-depend occurrence rates and in PMSE thickness, they show a maximum around 09:00–10:00 UTC and a minimum around 21:00–22:00 UTC. PMSE occur nearly exclusively between a height of 80 km and 92 km with a maximum near 85 km. However, PMSE appear not simultaneously over the entire height range, the mean vertical PMSE extension is around 4–6 km in June and July. Furthermore, typically PMSE are separated into several layers, and only 30% of all PMSE are single layers. The probability of multiple layers is greater in June and July than at the beginning and the end of the PMSE season and shows a marked 5-day-variation. The same variation is noticeable in the seasonal dependence of the PMSE occurrence and the PMSE thickness. We finally discuss potential geophysical processes to explain our observational results.
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