Correlative Antarctic and Inter-Hemispheric Dynamics Studies Using the MF Radar at Rothera
This proposal is to continue operation and scientific studies with the middle-frequency (MF, 1-30 MHz) mesospheric radar deployed at the British Antarctic station Rothera in 1996. This system is now a key site in the Antarctic MF radar chain near 68 deg. S, which includes also MF radars at Syowa (Japan) and Davis (Australia) stations. This radar comprises the winds component of a developing instrument suite for the mesosphere-thermosphere (MLT) studies at Rothera - a focus of the new BAS 5-year plan, which also includes the Fe temperature lidar (formerly at South Pole) and the mesopause airglow imager for gravity wave studies (formerly at Halley). The Rothera MF radar has just had its antennas and electronics upgraded to achieve better signal-to-noise ratio and more continuous measurements in height and time. The main focus of the proposed research is to extend the knowledge of the polar mesosphere dynamics. The instrument suite at Rothera is ideally positioned for correlative interhemispheric studies with northern hemisphere sites at Poker Flat, Alaska (65 deg. N) and ALOMAR, Norway (69 deg. N) having comparable instrumentation. Further research efforts performed with continued funding will focus on: (1) multi-instrument collaborative studies at Rothera to quantify as fully as possible the dynamics, structure, and variability of the MLT at that location, (2) multi-site (and multi-instrument) studies of large-scale dynamics and variability in the Antarctic (together with the radars and other instrumentation at Davis and Syowa), and (3) interhemispheric studies employing instruments (e.g., the Na resonance lidar and MF radar) at Poker Flat and ALOMAR. It is expected that these studies will lead to a more detailed understanding of (1) mean, tidal, and planetary wave structures at polar latitudes, (2) seasonal, inter-annual, and short-term variability of these structures, (3) hemispheric differences in the tidal and planetary wave structures arising from different source and wave interaction conditions, and (4) the relative influences of gravity waves in the two hemispheres. Such studies will also contribute more generally to an increased awareness of the role of high-latitude processes in global atmospheric dynamics and variability.
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