Articles | Volume 12, issue 8
Research article
24 Apr 2012
Research article |  | 24 Apr 2012

First detection of tidal behaviour in polar mesospheric water vapour by ground based microwave spectroscopy

K. Hallgren and P. Hartogh

Abstract. Mesospheric water vapour has been observed above ALOMAR in northern Norway (69° N 16° E) by our group since 1995 using a 22 GHz ground based microwave spectrometer. A new instrument with higher sensitivity, providing a much better time resolution especially in the upper mesosphere, was installed in May 2008. The time resolution is high enough to provide observations of daily variations in the water vapour mixing ratio. We present the first ground based detections of tidal behaviour in the polar middle atmospheric water vapour distribution.

Diurnal and semidiurnal variations of water vapour have been observed and due to the long chemical lifetime of water they are assumed to be caused by changing wind patterns which transport water-rich or poor air into the observed region. The detected tidal behaviour does not follow any single other dynamical field but is instead assumed to be a result of the different wind components.

Both the diurnal and semidiurnal amplitude and phase components are resolved. The former shows a stable seasonal behaviour consistent with earlier observations of wind fields and model calculations, whereas the latter appears more complex and no regular behaviour has so far been observed.

Final-revised paper