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Title: Lidar Observations of Instability and Estimates of Vertical Eddy Diffusivity Induced by Gravity Wave Breaking in the Arctic Mesosphere

On the night of 18–19 October 2018, sodium resonance lidar measurements show the presence of overturning in the mesospheric sodium layer. Two independent tracers, sodium mixing ratio and potential temperature, derived from resonance and Rayleigh lidar measurements, reveal that vertical spreading of the sodium mixing ratio contours and a layer of convective instability coincide with this overturning. Analysis of lidar measurements also reveals the presence of gravity waves that propagate upward, are saturated, and dissipate at the height of the convective instability. The vertical spreading is analyzed in terms of turbulent diffusive transport using a model based on material continuity of sodium. Estimates of the turbulent eddy diffusion coefficient, K, and energy dissipation rate,εare derived from the transport model. The energy dissipated by the gravity waves is also calculated and found to be sufficient to generate the turbulence. We consider three other examples of overturning, instability and spreading on the nights of: 17–18 February 2009, 25–26 January 2015, and 8–9 October 2018. For all four events we find that the values of K (∼1,000 m2/s) are larger and the values ofε(∼10–100 mW/kg) are of similar magnitude to those values typically reported by ionization gauge measurements. These examples also reveal that higher levels of turbulent mixing are consistently found in regions of lower stability.

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Award ID(s):
1753214 1829161 1829138 1734693
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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