Wave dynamics of the mesosphere (NERC Grant Award: NE/H009760/1)
Waves in the atmosphere are able to transport energy and momentum between different layers of the atmosphere. Understanding these waves is thus very important if we want to understand the atmosphere as a whole system in which the layers are coupled together.
In this project five radars were used to measure waves in the mesosphere, which is that part of the atmosphere at heights of between about 55 to 100 km. The radars are located at sites ranging from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The project was particularly interested in detecting and measuring waves generated when strong winds blow over the Southern Andes and the Antarctic Peninsula - so-called 'mountain waves'. It was interested in understanding the conditions under which these waves can ascend to the mesosphere and plan to determine the effect they have on the large-scale winds of the mesosphere.
The project also studied how the intense, cold winter circulation system known as the stratospheric polar vortex filters and controls waves ascending into the mesosphere. The project also planned to take part in a major international experiment, SAANGRIA, to study these phenomena in collaboration with other instruments. Finally, the project studied how the winds of the equatorial mesosphere control the cross-equator propagation of planetary-scale waves.
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