Solar Cycle and Long-Term Trends in the Observed Peak of the Meteor Altitude Distributions by Meteor Radars

E. C.M. Dawkins, G. Stober, D. Janches, J. D. Carrillo-Sánchez, R. S. Lieberman, C. Jacobi, T. Moffat-Griffin, N. J. Mitchell, N. Cobbett, P. P. Batista, V. F. Andrioli, R. A. Buriti, D. J. Murphy, J. Kero, N. Gulbrandsen, M. Tsutsumi, A. Kozlovsky, J. H. Kim, C. Lee, M. Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mesosphere/lower thermosphere (MLT, 80–100 km) region is an important boundary between Earth's atmosphere below and space above and may act as a sensitive indicator for anthropogenic climate change. Existing observational and modeling studies have shown the middle atmosphere and the MLT is cooling and contracting because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. However, trend analyses are highly sensitive to the time periods covered, their length, and the measurement type and methodology used. We present for the first time the linear and 11-year solar cycle responses in the meteor ablation altitude distributions observed by 12 meteor radars at different locations. Decreasing altitudes were seen at all latitudes (linear trends varying from −10.97 to −817.95 m dec−1), and a positive correlation with solar activity was seen for most locations. The divergence of responses at high latitudes indicates an important and complex interplay between atmospheric changes and dynamics at varying time scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022GL101953
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2023


  • altitude
  • climate change
  • mesopause
  • mesosphere
  • meteor
  • meteor radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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