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  1. Abstract

    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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  2. A narrowband sodium resonance wind-temperature lidar (SRWTL) has been deployed at Poker Flat Research Range, Chatanika, Alaska (PFRR, 65° N, 147° W). Based on the Weber narrowband SRWTL, the PFRR SRWTL transmitter was upgraded with a state-of-the-art solid-state tunable diode laser as the seed laser. The PFRR SRWTL currently makes simultaneous measurements in the zenith and 20° off-zenith towards the north with two transmitted beams and two telescopes. Initial results for both nighttime and daytime measurements are presented. We review the performance of the PFRR SRWTL in terms of seven previous and currently operating SRWTLs. The transmitted power from the pulsed dye amplifier (PDA) is comparable with other SRWTL systems (900 mW). However, while the efficiency of the seeding and frequency shifting is comparable to other SRWTLs the efficiency of the pumping is lower. The uncertainties of temperature and wind measurements induced by photon noise at the peak of the layer with a 5 min, 1 km resolution are estimated to be ~1 K and 2 m/s for nighttime conditions, and 10 K and 6 m/s for daytime conditions. The relative efficiency of the zenith receiver is comparable to other SRWTLs (90–97%), while the efficiency of the north off-zenith receiver needs further optimization. An upgrade of the PFRR SRWTL to a full three-beam system with zenith, northward and eastward measurements is in progress. 
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