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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Dec 2018

Research article | 10 Dec 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Mesospheric Anomalous Diffusion During Noctilucent Clouds

Fazlul I. Laskar1, Gunter Stober1, Jens Fiedler1, Meers M. Oppenheim2, Jorge L. Chau1, Duggirala Pallamraju3, Nocholas M. Pedatella4, Masaki Tsutsumi5, and Toralf Renkwitz1 Fazlul I. Laskar et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Kühlungsborn, Germany
  • 2Boston University, Boston, USA
  • 3Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India
  • 4National Center for Atmospheric Research, High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 5Arctic Environment Research Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract. The Andenes specular meteor radar shows meteor-trail diffusion rates increasing on average by ~20% at times and locations where a lidar observes noctilucent clouds (NLCs). This high-latitude effect has been attributed to the presence of charged NLC but this study shows that such behaviors result predominantly from thermal tides. To make this claim, the current study evaluates data from three stations, at high-, mid-, and low-latitudes, for the years 2012 to 2016, comparing diffusion to show that thermal tides correlate strongly with the presence of NLCs. This data also shows that the connection between meteor-trail diffusion and thermal tide occurs at all altitudes in the mesosphere, while the NLC influence exists only at high-latitudes and at around peak of NLC layer. This paper discusses a number of possible explanations for changes in the regions with NLCs and leans towards the hypothesis that relative abundance of background electron density plays the leading role. A more accurate model of the meteor trail diffusion around NLC particles would help researchers determine mesospheric temperature and neutral density profiles from meteor radars.

Fazlul I. Laskar et al.
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Short summary
Meteor radars are used to track and estimate the fading time of meteor trails. In this investigation, it is observed that the diffusion time estimated from such trail fading time is anomalously higher during noctilucent cloud (NLC) than that in its absence. We propose that NLC particles absorb background electrons and thus modify the background electrodynamics leading to such anomaly. Moreover, in addition to NLC influence, the thermal tides also contribute to the observed anomalous behavior.
Meteor radars are used to track and estimate the fading time of meteor trails. In this...