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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 4 | Copyright
Ann. Geophys., 18, 478-484, 2000
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-000-0478-z
© European Geosciences Union 2000

  30 Apr 2000

30 Apr 2000

A new technique for evaluating mesospheric momentum balance utilizing radars and satellite data

D. J. Frame1, B. N. Lawrence1, G. J. Fraser1, R. A. Vincent2, and A. Dudhia3 D. J. Frame et al.
  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • 3Department of Physics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Correspondence to: B. N. Lawrence
  • e-mail: b.lawrence@phys.canterbury.ac.nz

Abstract. A new method for evaluating momentum balance in the mesosphere using radar and satellite data is presented. This method is applied to radar wind data from two medium frequency installations (near Adelaide, Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand) and satellite temperature data from the Improved Stratospheric and Mesospheric Sounder (ISAMS). Because of limitations in data availability and vertical extent, the technique can only be applied to evaluate the momentum balance at 80 km above the radar sites for May 1992. The technique allows the calculation of the residual terms in the momentum balance which are usually attributed to the effects of breaking gravity waves. Although the results are inconclusive above Adelaide, this method produces values of zonal and meridional residual accelerations above Christchurch which are consistent with expectation. In both locations it is apparent that geostrophic balance is a poor approximation of reality. (This result is not dependent on a mismatch between the radar and satellite derived winds, but rather is inherent in the satellite data alone.) Despite significant caveats about data quality the technique appears robust and could be of use with data from future instruments.

Key words: Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; waves and tides; instruments and techniques)

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