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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 21, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1869–1878, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-1869-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 21, 1869–1878, 2003
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-21-1869-2003
© Author(s) 2003. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 Aug 2003

31 Aug 2003

Case study of the development of polar stratospheric clouds using bistatic imaging

C.-F. Enell1, U. Brändström1, B. Gustavsson2, S. Kirkwood1, K. Stebel3, and A. Steen4 C.-F. Enell et al.
  • 1Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden
  • 2National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
  • 3Norwegian Institute of Air Research, Tromsø, Norway
  • 4RemSpace Group, Övlandehult, Sweden

Abstract. The formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) is closely related to wave activity on different scales since waves propagating into the stratosphere perturb the temperature profile. We present here a case study of the development of visible PSCs (mother-of-pearl clouds), appearing at the polar vortex edge on 9 January 1997, under-taken by means of ground-based cameras. It is shown that the presence of stratospheric clouds may be detected semi-automatically and that short-term dynamics such as altitude variations can be tracked in three dimensions. The PSC field showed distinct features separated by approximately 20 km, which implies wave-induced temperature variations on that scale. The wave-induced characteristics were further emphasised by the fact that the PSCs moved within a sloping spatial surface. The appearance of visible mother-of-pearl clouds seems to be related to leewave-induced cooling of air masses, where the synoptic temperature has been close to (but not necessarily below) the threshold temperatures for PSC condensation.

Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (aerosols and particles) – Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; instruments and techniques)

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