Articles | Volume 28, issue 10
07 Oct 2010
 | 07 Oct 2010

Climatology of northern polar latitude MLT dynamics: mean winds and tides

G. Kishore Kumar and W. K. Hocking

Abstract. Mean winds and tides in the northern polar Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) have been studied using meteor radars located at Resolute Bay (75° N, 95° W) and Yellowknife (62.5° N, 114.3° W). The measurements for Resolute Bay span almost 12 years from July 1997 to February 2009 and the Yellowknife data cover 7 years from June 2002 to October 2008. The analysis reveals similar wind flow over both sites with a difference in magnitude. The summer zonal flow is westward at lower heights, eastward at upper heights and the winter zonal flow is eastward at all heights. The winter meridional flow is poleward and sometimes weakly equatorward, while non winter months show equatorward flow, with a strong equatorward jet during mid-summer months. The zonal and meridional winds show strong interannual variation with a dominant annual variation as well as significant latitudinal variation. Year to year variability in both zonal and meridional winds exists, with a possible solar cycle dependence. The diurnal, semidiurnal and terdiurnal tides also show large interannual variability and latitudinal variation. The diurnal amplitudes are dominated by an annual variation. The climatological monthly mean winds are compared with CIRA 86, GEWM and HWM07 and the climatological monthly mean amplitudes and phases of diurnal and semidiurnal tides are compared with GSWM00 predictions. The GEWM shows better agreement with observations than the CIRA 86 and HWM07. The GSWM00 model predictions need to be modified above 90 km. The agreements and disagreements between observations and models are discussed.