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J Geophys Res Atmos. 2018 Dec 16;123(23):13259-13276. doi: 10.1029/2018JD028788. Epub 2018 Nov 12.

Observations of Reduced Turbulence and Wave Activity in the Arctic Middle Atmosphere Following the January 2015 Sudden Stratospheric Warming.

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Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA.
Physical Sciences Department, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, USA.
GATS Inc., Boulder, CO, USA.
Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, University of Rostock, Kühlungsborn, Germany.
Center for Space Science and Engineering Research, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.
Center for Geospace Studies, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, USA.


Measurements of turbulence and waves were made as part of the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere Turbulence Experiment (MTeX) on the night of 25-26 January 2015 at Poker Flat Research Range, Chatanika, Alaska (65°N, 147°W). Rocket-borne ionization gauge measurements revealed turbulence in the 70- to 88-km altitude region with energy dissipation rates between 0.1 and 24 mW/kg with an average value of 2.6 mW/kg. The eddy diffusion coefficient varied between 0.3 and 134 m2/s with an average value of 10 m2/s. Turbulence was detected around mesospheric inversion layers (MILs) in both the topside and bottomside of the MILs. These low levels of turbulence were measured after a minor sudden stratospheric warming when the circulation continued to be disturbed by planetary waves and winds remained weak in the stratosphere and mesosphere. Ground-based lidar measurements characterized the ensemble of inertia-gravity waves and monochromatic gravity waves. The ensemble of inertia-gravity waves had a specific potential energy of 0.8 J/kg over the 40- to 50-km altitude region, one of the lowest values recorded at Chatanika. The turbulence measurements coincided with the overturning of a 2.5-hr monochromatic gravity wave in a depth of 3 km at 85 km. The energy dissipation rates were estimated to be 3 mW/kg for the ensemble of waves and 18 mW/kg for the monochromatic wave. The MTeX observations reveal low levels of turbulence associated with low levels of gravity wave activity. In the light of other Arctic observations and model studies, these observations suggest that there may be reduced turbulence during disturbed winters.

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