Articles | Volume 20, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 20, 1447–1467, 2002

Special issue: Xth EISCAT WORKSHOP

Ann. Geophys., 20, 1447–1467, 2002

  30 Sep 2002

30 Sep 2002

Temperature tides determined with meteor radar

W. K. Hocking1 and A. Hocking2 W. K. Hocking and A. Hocking
  • 1Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont., N6A 3K7, Canada
  • 2Mardoc Inc., London, Ont., N6G 4N4, Canada
  • Correspondence to: A. Hocking (

Abstract. A new analysis method for producing tidal temperature parameters using meteor radar measurements is presented, and is demonstrated with data from one polar and two mid-latitude sites. The technique further develops the temperature algorithm originally introduced by Hocking (1999). That earlier method was used to produce temperature measurements over time scales of days and months, but required an empirical model for the mean temperature gradient in the mesopause region. However, when tides are present, this temperature gradient is modulated by the presence of the tides, complicating extraction of diurnal variations. Nevertheless, if the vertical wavelengths of the tides are known from wind measurements, the effects of the gradient variations can be compensated for, permitting determination of temperature tidal amplitudes and phases by meteor techniques. The basic theory is described, and results from meteor radars at Resolute Bay (Canada), London (Canada) and Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA) are shown. Our results are compared with other lidar data, computer models, fundamental tidal theory and rocket data. Phase measurements at two mid-latitude sites (Albuquerque, New Mexico, and London, Canada) show times of maximum for the diurnal temperature tide to change modestly throughout most of the year, varying generally between 0 h and 6 h, with an excursion to 12 h in June at London. The semidiurnal tide shows a larger annual variation in time of maximum, being at 2–4 h in the winter months but increasing to 9 h during the late summer and early fall. We also find that, at least at mid-latitudes, the phase of the temperature tide matches closely the phase of the meridional tide, and theoretical justification for this statement is given. We also demonstrate that this is true using the Global Scale Wave Model (Hagan et al., 1999). Median values for the temperature amplitudes for each site are in the range 5 to 6 Kelvin. Results from a more northern site (Resolute Bay) show less consistency between the wind tides and the temperature tides, supporting suggestions that the temperature tides may be zonally symmetric at these high latitudes (e.g. Walterscheid and Sivjee, 2001).

Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; waves and tides) – Radio science (signal processing)

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