Comparison of mesospheric winds from a high-altitude meteorological analysis system and meteor radar observations during the boreal winters of 2009–2010 and 2012–2013

J. McCormack, K. Hoppel, D. Kuhl, R. de Wit, G. Stober, P. Espy, N. Baker, P. Brown, D. Fritts, C. Jacobi, D. Janches, N. Mitchell, B. Ruston, S. Swadley, K. Viner, T. Whitcomb, R. Hibbins

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Abstract

We present a study of horizontal winds in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) during the boreal winters of 2009–2010 and 2012–2013 produced with a new high-altitude numerical weather prediction (NWP) system. This system is based on a modified version of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) with an extended vertical domain up to ∼116 km altitude coupled with a hybrid four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) data assimilation system that assimilates both standard operational meteorological observations in the troposphere and satellite-based observations of temperature, ozone and water vapor in the stratosphere and mesosphere. NAVGEM-based MLT analyzed winds are validated using independent meteor radar wind observations from nine different sites ranging from 69°N–67°S latitude. Time-averaged NAVGEM zonal and meridional wind profiles between 75 and 95 km altitude show good qualitative and quantitative agreement with corresponding meteor radar wind profiles. Wavelet analysis finds that the 3-hourly NAVGEM and 1-hourly radar winds both exhibit semi-diurnal, diurnal, and quasi-diurnal variations whose vertical profiles of amplitude and phase are also in good agreement. Wavelet analysis also reveals common time-frequency behavior in both NAVGEM and radar winds throughout the Northern extratropics around the times of major stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs) in January 2010 and January 2013, with a reduction in semi-diurnal amplitudes beginning around the time of a mesospheric wind reversal at 60°N that precedes the SSW, followed by an amplification of semi-diurnal amplitudes that peaks 10–14 days following the onset of the mesospheric wind reversal. The initial results presented in this study demonstrate that the wind analyses produced by the high-altitude NAVGEM system accurately capture key features in the observed MLT winds during these two boreal winter periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-166
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Volume154
Early online date24 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • MLT winds
  • Radar observations
  • Tides

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