Articles | Volume 30, issue 8
Regular paper
13 Aug 2012
Regular paper |  | 13 Aug 2012

Wave influence on polar mesosphere summer echoes above Wasa: experimental and model studies

P. Dalin, S. Kirkwood, M. Hervig, M. Mihalikova, D. Mikhaylova, I. Wolf, and A. Osepian

Abstract. Comprehensive analysis of the wave activity in the Antarctic summer mesopause is performed using polar mesospheric summer echoes (PMSE) measurements for December 2010–January 2011. The 2-day planetary wave is a statistically significant periodic oscillation in the power spectrum density of PMSE power. The strongest periodic oscillation in the power spectrum belongs to the diurnal solar tide; the semi-diurnal solar tide is found to be a highly significant harmonic oscillation as well. The inertial-gravity waves are extensively studied by means of PMSE power and wind components. The strongest gravity waves are observed at periods of about 1, 1.4, 2.5 and 4 h, with characteristic horizontal wavelengths of 28, 36, 157 and 252 km, respectively. The gravity waves propagate approximately in the west-east direction over Wasa (Antarctica). A detailed comparison between theoretical and experimental volume reflectivity of PMSE, measured at Wasa, is made. It is demonstrated that a new expression for PMSE reflectivity derived by Varney et al. (2011) is able to adequately describe PMSE profiles both in the magnitude and in height variations. The best agreement, within 30%, is achieved when mean values of neutral atmospheric parameters are utilized. The largest contribution to the formation and variability of the PMSE layer is explained by the ice number density and its height gradient, followed by wave-induced perturbations in buoyancy period and the turbulent energy dissipation rate.