Articles | Volume 29, issue 6
16 Jun 2011
 | 16 Jun 2011

Average properties and small-scale variations of the mesospheric Na and Fe layers as observed simultaneously by two closely colocated lidars at 30° N

L. Chen and F. Yi

Abstract. We report the average properties and small-scale variation features of the mesospheric Na and Fe layers at 30° N from extensive simultaneous and common-volume Na and Fe lidar measurements at Wuhan, China. The annual mean Na and Fe density profiles are derived in terms of an averaging method taken from an early literature. The mean Na and Fe profiles preserve the sharp gradients present in most individual density profiles near the layer bottom. Near the bottommost of the layers the mean Na and Fe scale heights are respectively −0.42 and −0.30 km. The mean layer parameters coincide well with the previous report. The Na and Fe densities in the lowest several kilometers of the layers consistently exhibit nearly the same time variations. A clear-cut distinction between the Na and Fe time variations always appears in an altitude range near 90 km. A relatively weak positive correlation between them persistently occurs also in an altitude range near 100 km. The mean increase and decrease rates for both Na and Fe are altitude dependent and have a single-peak structure. The time constant of the layer variation is ~0.07–2.0 h for Na and ~0.02–1.7 h for Fe, suggesting that the variability is dominated by small-scale processes. However, there is also a slow net increase in each of the annual mean column abundances (Na and Fe) during night.