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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 36, issue 5 | Copyright
Ann. Geophys., 36, 1267-1274, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-36-1267-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Regular paper 25 Sep 2018

Regular paper | 25 Sep 2018

Meteor echo height ceiling effect and mesospheric temperature estimation from meteor radar observations

Changsup Lee, Geonhwa Jee, Jeong-Han Kim, and In-Sun Song Changsup Lee et al.
  • Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, South Korea

Abstract. The mesospheric temperature estimation from meteor height distribution is reevaluated by using the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) and the King Sejong Station (KSS) meteor radar observations. It is found that the experimentally determined proportionality constant between the full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the meteor height distribution and temperature is in remarkable agreement with theoretical value derived from the physics-based equation and it is nearly time-invariant for the entire observation period of 2012–2016. Furthermore, for the first time we found that the FWHM provides the best estimate of temperature at slightly lower height than the meteor peak height (MPH) by about 2–3km. This is related to the asymmetric distribution of meteor echoes around MPH, which is known to be caused by the meteor echo height ceiling effect (MHC). At higher altitude above MPH, the meteor detection rate is greatly reduced due to the MHC, and the cutoff height for this reduction follows a fixed molecular mean free path of the background atmosphere. This result indicates that the meteor height distribution can be used to estimate the mesospheric temperature, even under the asymmetric meteor echo distribution caused by the MHC at high altitude.

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This study shows the width of the meteor height distribution (FWHM) is well correlated with the atmospheric pressure, not only experimentally but theoretically. From the correlation analysis, we found that the FWHM provides the best estimation of the temperature at the height layer below the meteor peak height by 2–3 km. We also proved a meteor echo height ceiling effect (MHC) is primarily controlled by the atmospheric conditions, and this enables the FWHM to estimate the temperature accurately.
This study shows the width of the meteor height distribution (FWHM) is well correlated with the...
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