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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 26, issue 11
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3557–3570, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3557–3570, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  17 Nov 2008

17 Nov 2008

Five-day planetary waves in the middle atmosphere from Odin satellite data and ground-based instruments in Northern Hemisphere summer 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007

A. Belova1, S. Kirkwood1, D. Murtagh2, N. Mitchell3, W. Singer4, and W. Hocking5 A. Belova et al.
  • 1Swedish Institute of Space Physics, P.O. Box 812, 98128 Kiruna, Sweden
  • 2Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 3University of Bath, Bath, UK
  • 4Leibniz Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Kühlungsborn, Germany
  • 5University of Western Ontario, London, Ont., N6A 3K7, Canada

Abstract. A number of studies have shown that 5-day planetary waves modulate noctilucent clouds and the closely related Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) at the summer mesopause. Summer stratospheric winds should inhibit wave propagation through the stratosphere and, although some numerical models (Geisler and Dickinson, 1976) do show a possibility for upward wave propagation, it has also been suggested that the upward propagation may in practice be confined to the winter hemisphere with horizontal propagation of the wave from the winter to the summer hemisphere at mesosphere heights causing the effects observed at the summer mesopause. It has further been proposed (Garcia et al., 2005) that 5-day planetary waves observed in the summer mesosphere could be excited in-situ by baroclinic instability in the upper mesosphere. In this study, we first extract and analyze 5-day planetary wave characteristics on a global scale in the middle atmosphere (up to 54 km in temperature, and up to 68 km in ozone concentration) using measurements by the Odin satellite for selected days during northern hemisphere summer from 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007. Second, we show that 5-day temperature fluctuations consistent with westward-traveling 5-day waves are present at the summer mesopause, using local ground-based meteor-radar observations. Finally we examine whether any of three possible sources of the detected temperature fluctuations at the summer mesopause can be excluded: upward propagation from the stratosphere in the summer-hemisphere, horizontal propagation from the winter-hemisphere or in-situ excitation as a result of the baroclinic instability. We find that in one case, far from solstice, the baroclinic instability is unlikely to be involved. In one further case, close to solstice, upward propagation in the same hemisphere seems to be ruled out. In all other cases, all or any of the three proposed mechanisms are consistent with the observations.

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