Climatology and Seasonal Variations of Temperatures and Gravity Wave Activities in the Mesopause Region Above Ft. Collins, CO (40.6°N, 105.1°W)

Chiao Yao She, Zhao Ai Yan, Chester S. Gardner, David A. Krueger, Xiong Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Utilizing 956 nights of Na lidar nocturnal mesopause region temperature profiles acquired at Fort Collins, CO (40.6°N, 105.1°W) over a 20-year period (March 1990–2010), we deduce background nightly mean temperature (Formula presented.) and the square of the buoyancy frequency N2(z) at 2-km resolution between 83 and 105 km. The temperature climatology reveals the two-level mesopause structure with clarity and sharp mesopause transitions, resulting in 102 days of summer from Days 121 to 222 of the year. The same data set analyzed at 10-min and 1-km resolution gives the gravity wave (GW) temperature perturbations Ti'(z) and the wave variance Var(T′(z)) and GW potential energy Epm(z) between 85 and 100 km. Seasonal averages of GW Var(T′(z)) and Epm(z) between 90 and 100 km, show that Var(T′) for spring and autumn are comparable and lower than for summer and winter. Due mainly to the higher background stability, or larger N2(z) in summer, Epm(z) between 85 and 100 km is comparable in spring, summer, and autumn seasons, but ∼30%–45% smaller than the winter values at the same altitude. The uncertainties are about 4% for winter and about 5% for the other three seasons. The values for Epm are (156.0, 176.2, 145.6, and 186.2 J/kg) at 85 km for (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) respectively, (125.4, 120.2, 115.2, and 168.7 J/kg) at 93 km, and (207.5, 180.5, 213.1, and 278.6 J/kg) at 100 km. Going up in altitude, all profiles first decrease and then increase, suggesting that climatologically, GWs break below 85 km.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021JD036291
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2022


  • climatology
  • gravity wave activities
  • mesosphere and lower thermosphere
  • sodium lidar
  • temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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