New radar observations of temporal and spatial dynamics of the midnight temperature maximum at low latitude and midlatitude

Dustin A. Hickey, Carlos R. Martinis, Philip J. Erickson, Larisa P. Goncharenko, John W. Meriwether, Rafael Mesquita, William L. Oliver, Ashley Wright

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Presented here are several cases of midnight temperature maximum (MTM) observations using the Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar (ISR) and Arecibo ISR. The MTM, a temperature enhancement in the upper atmosphere (at ∼300 km altitude), is a poorly understood phenomenon as observations are sparse. An upward propagating terdiurnal tide and coupling between atmospheric regions may play a large part in the generation of the MTM, yet this phenomenon and its implications are not fully understood. Two nights (6 March 1989 and 12 July 1988) show clear cases of the MTM occurring between 30 and 34°N with amplitudes of ∼100 K and at ∼18°N with amplitudes of ∼40 K. The MTMs occurred later at the higher latitude. Experiments in 2013 also show a clear MTM at 34° and 36°N from 250 to 350 km altitude. The ionospheric measurements presented here demonstrate a new application of a well-established technique to study atmospheric parameters and allow us to study the latitudinal extent of the MTM. The results provide evidence of the phenomenon occurring at latitudes and altitudes not previously sampled by radar techniques, showing that the MTM is not just an equatorial process, but one that can easily reach midlatitudes. Simultaneous measurements with a Fabry-Perot interferometer allow us to compare the neutral temperatures with the ion temperature. Overall, these are key observations that point to large-scale effects that can help constrain model outputs at different heights and latitudes. Key Points Temporal and spatial dynamics of the MTM with multiple sites simultaneously New application of low-elevation scans with the Millstone Hill ISR Aiding the understanding of the coupling of the upper atmosphere to the lower

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10,499-10,506
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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