Articles | Volume 35, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 35, 547–565, 2017
Ann. Geophys., 35, 547–565, 2017

Regular paper 10 Apr 2017

Regular paper | 10 Apr 2017

Spatial and temporal variability in MLT turbulence inferred from in situ and ground-based observations during the WADIS-1 sounding rocket campaign

Boris Strelnikov1, Artur Szewczyk1, Irina Strelnikova1, Ralph Latteck1, Gerd Baumgarten1, Franz-Josef Lübken1, Markus Rapp2,8, Stefanos Fasoulas3, Stefan Löhle3, Martin Eberhart3, Ulf-Peter Hoppe4, Tim Dunker4, Martin Friedrich5, Jonas Hedin6, Mikhail Khaplanov6,†, Jörg Gumbel6, and Aroh Barjatya7 Boris Strelnikov et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Rostock University, Kühlungsborn, Germany
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 3University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 4Department of Physics and Technology, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  • 5Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
  • 6Department of Meteorology (MISU), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 7Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, USA
  • 8Meteorologisches Institut München, Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München, Munich, Germany
  • deceased

Abstract. In summer 2013 the WADIS-1 sounding rocket campaign was conducted at the Andøya Space Center (ACS) in northern Norway (69° N, 16° E). Among other things, it addressed the question of the variability in mesosphere/lower thermosphere (MLT) turbulence, both in time and space. A unique feature of the WADIS project was multi-point turbulence sounding applying different measurement techniques including rocket-borne ionization gauges, VHF MAARSY radar, and VHF EISCAT radar near Tromsø. This allowed for horizontal variability to be observed in the turbulence field in the MLT at scales from a few to 100 km. We found that the turbulence dissipation rate, ε varied in space in a wavelike manner both horizontally and in the vertical direction. This wavelike modulation reveals the same vertical wavelengths as those seen in gravity waves. We also found that the vertical mean value of radar observations of ε agrees reasonably with rocket-borne measurements. In this way defined 〈εradar〉 value reveals clear tidal modulation and results in variation by up to 2 orders of magnitude with periods of 24 h. The 〈εradar〉 value also shows 12 h and shorter (1 to a few hours) modulations resulting in one decade of variation in 〈εradar〉 magnitude. The 24 h modulation appeared to be in phase with tidal change of horizontal wind observed by SAURA-MF radar. Such wavelike and, in particular, tidal modulation of the turbulence dissipation field in the MLT region inferred from our analysis is a new finding of this work.

Short summary
The WADIS sounding rocket mission utilized multi-point turbulence measurements in the mesosphere by different techniques, i.e., with ionization gauges carried by rockets and ground-based MAARSY and EISCAT radars. Results show that turbulence energy dissipation rates oscillate in space and time with amplitude of up to 2 orders of magnitude. Spatial oscillations show the same wavelengths as atmospheric gravity waves. Temporal variability reveals periods of atmospheric tides and gravity waves.