2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
 
Lidar Investigation of middle and upper atmosphere temperature, composition, chemistry, and dynamics at McMurdo, Antarctica
 

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili

A-130-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Cara Sucher

Dr. Xinzhao Chu (Principal Investigator)
xinzhao.chu@colorado.edu
Project LinkExternal Non U.S. Government Site

University of Colorado Boulder
CIRES
Boulder, Colorado

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Crary Lab

Project Description:
This project continues the operation of the Fe Boltzmann lidar installed in the Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ) lab at Arrival Heights near McMurdo Station. The initial instrument installation took place during the 2010-11 summer season. Primary research objectives are to acquire vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature (30–155 km), Fe density (70–155 km), and polar mesospheric cloud (PMC), to study the chemistry and dynamics of the polar atmosphere and to establish the baseline temperature, Fe, PMC and gravity wave climatologies. New science discoveries based on the observations and measurements made to date (December 2010 to March 2014) include : (1) Neutral Fe layers and gravity waves well into the thermosphere, from 155 km up to 170 km; (2) Elevated thermospheric temperatures between 110 and 150 km, likely associated with Joule heating; (3) Explosive release of exceptionally large Fe densities between 85 and 95 km during summer, likely from visible and sub-visible ice particles; (4) Significant solar effects on the Fe layer bottom side during local sunrise and sunset; (5) Strong and nearly persistent inertial gravity waves with cross-Antarctic continent features; (6) Super-exponential growth of temperature tidal amplitude in the lower thermosphere above 110 km; and (7) Dramatic density variations (about 40 times) of Fe layers over a time scale of multiple days (7-20 days).

Field Season Overview:
This year, one lidar scientist will deploy at Winfly (August 2012) to assist the winter-over lidar engineer in maintaining the equipment and collecting as much data as possible. The winter-over scientist will redeploy in November and additional field team members will deploy for much of the austral summer. One grantee will remain as the 2012-13 winter-over.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Cao Chen
  • Xinzhao Chu (PI)
  • Weichun Fong

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs