Characterisation of quasi-stationary planetary waves in the Northern MLT during summer
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. 2015, 127, 30-36. 10.1016/j.jastp.2014.12.003
Observations of planetary wave (PW) activity in the northern hemisphere, polar summer mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) are presented. Meteor winds from a northern hemisphere chain of SuperDARN radars have been used to monitor the meridional wind along a latitude band (51–66°N) in the MLT. A stationary PW-like longitudinal structure with a strong zonal PW number 1 characteristic is persistently observed year-to-year during summer. Here we characterize the amplitude and the phase structure of this wave in the MLT. The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Application (MERRA) of the NASA Global Modelling and Assimilation Office has been used to evaluate possible sources of the observed longitudinal perturbation in the mesospheric meridional wind by investigating the amplitudes and phases of PWs in the underlying atmosphere. The investigation shows that neither gravity wave modulation by lower atmospheric PWs nor direct propagation of PWs from the lower atmosphere are a significant cause of the observed longitudinal perturbation. However, the data are not of sufficient scope to investigate longitudinal differences in gravity wave sources, or to separate the effects of instabilities and inter-hemispheric propagation as possible causes for the large PW present in the summer MLT.