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Studies of mesospheric radar echoes at polar and middle latitudes

During summer months, at mid and polar latitudes very strong non-turbulent related VHF-radar echoes are observed at mesospheric altitudes (80-90 km), that are called Mesosperic Summer Echoes (MSE). At polar latitudes (PMSE) they occur more often and are stronger then their midlatitude counterparts. On the other hand, winter echoes (PMWE and MWE) are more seldom observed below 80 km during equinoctial and winter months, and are believed to be related to turbulence.

At IAP we have observed PMSE and PMWE with the ALOMAR SOUSY Radar (1994-1997) the ALWIN-VHF-Radar (1999-2008) and MAARSY (since 2010) at Andenes, whereas the MSE and MWE are measured with the OSWIN-VHF-Radar at Kühlungsborn since 1998. Our investigations related to these echoes, among others, are:

  • the seasonal and diurnal variation of the PMSE/MSE frequency, influence of temperature, meridional wind, water vapour, turbulence, tidal waves and ionization,
  • the influence of atmospheric waves upon the creation of discrete layers in PMSE,
  • the connection between PMSE/MSE and noctilucent clouds (NLC), since in both phenomena ice particles play an essential role,
  • the investigation of long-term variations of (P)MSE (seasonal duration and strength),
  • the dependence of (P)MSE on geographic latitude and longitude by means of absolutely calibrated VHF-Radars (e.g., interhemispheric differences).
  • investigation of small-scale structures in the polar mesosphere using high-resolution radar observations
  • multi-static observations of mesospheric structures

Furthermore some of our studies are complemented by in-situ measurements during rocket campaigns (e.g., ROMA, ECOMA, WADIS).


  • J. L. Chau, J. M. Urco, V. Avsarkisov, J. P. Vierinen, R. Latteck, C. M. Hall und M. Tsutsumi, Four-dimensional quantification of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities in the polar summer mesosphere using volumetric radar imaging, Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, doi:10.1029/2019GL086081, 2020.
  • R. Latteck, T. Renkwitz und B. Strelnikov, D region observations by VHF and HF radars during a rocket campaign at Andøya dedicated to investigations of PMWE, Adv. Radio Sci., 17, 225-237, doi:10.5194/ars-17-225-2019, 2019.
  • J. M. Urco, J. L. Chau, T. Weber und R. Latteck, Enhancing the spatiotemporal features of polar mesosphere summer echoes using coherent MIMO and radar imaging at MAARSY, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 955-969, doi:10.5194/amt-12-955-2019, 2019.
  • N. Gudadze, G. Stober und J. L. Chau, Can VHF radars at polar latitudes measure mean vertical winds in the presence of PMSE?, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 4485-4497, doi:10.5194/acp-19-4485-2019, 2019.
  • D. Pokhotelov, G. Stober und J. L. Chau, Statistical climatology of mid-latitude mesospheric summer echoes characterised by OSWIN (Ostsee-Wind) radar observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 5251-5258, doi:10.5194/acp-19-5251-2019, 2019.
  • J. L. Chau, D. McKay, J. P. Vierinen, C. La Hoz, T. Ulich, M. Lehtinen und R. Latteck, Multi-static spatial and angular studies of polar mesospheric summer echoes combining MAARSY and KAIRA, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 1818, 9547-9560, doi:10.5194/acp-1818-9547-2018, 2018.
  • G. Stober, S. Sommer, C. Schult, R. Latteck und J. L. Chau, Observation of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities and gravity waves in the summer mesopause above Andenes in Northern Norway, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 6721-6732, doi:10.5194/acp-18-6721-2018, 2018.
  • R. Latteck und J. Bremer, Long-term variations of polar mesospheric summer echoes observed at Andøya 69°N, J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys., 163, 31-37, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2017.07.005, 2017.
  • S. Sommer, J. L. Chau und C. Schult, On high time-range resolution observations of PMSE: Statistical characteristics, J. Geophys. Res., 121, 6713-6722, doi:10.1002/2015JD024531, 2016.
  • S. Sommer, G. Stober und J. L. Chau, On the angular dependence and scattering model of polar mesospheric summer echoes at VHF, J. Geophys. Res., 121, 278-288, doi:10.1002/2015JD023518, 2016.
  • R. Latteck und I. Strelnikova, Extended observations of polar mesosphere winter echoes over Andøya (69°N) using MAARSY, J. Geophys. Res., 120, 8216-8226, doi:10.1002/2015JD023291, 2015.