Polar mesosphere winter echoes during MaCWAVE
Abstract. During the MaCWAVE winter campaign in January 2003, layers of enhanced echo power known as PMWE (Polar Mesosphere Winter Echoes) were detected by the ESRAD 52 MHz radar on several occasions. The cause of these echoes is unclear and here we use observations by meteorological and sounding rockets and by lidar to test whether neutral turbulence or aerosol layers might be responsible. PMWE were detected within 30 min of meteorological rocket soundings (falling spheres) on 5 separate days. The observations from the meteorological rockets show that, in most cases, conditions likely to be associated with neutral atmospheric turbulence are not observed at the heights of the PMWE. Observations by instrumented sounding rockets confirm low levels of turbulence and indicate considerable small-scale structure in charge density profiles. Comparison of falling sphere and lidar data, on the other hand, show that any contribution of aerosol scatter to the lidar signal at PMWE heights is less than the detection threshold of about 10%.