Long-term lidar observations of the gravity wave activity near the mesopause at Arecibo
Using 11-year-long K Doppler lidar observations of temperature profiles in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) between 85 and 100 km, conducted at the Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico (18.35∘ N, 66.75∘ W), seasonal variations of mean temperature, the squared Brunt–Väisälä frequency, N2, and the gravity wave potential energy (GWPE) are estimated in a composite year. The following unique features are obtained. (1) The mean temperature structure shows similar characteristics to an earlier report based on a smaller dataset. (2) Temperature inversion layers (TILs) occur at 94–96 km in spring, at ∼92 km in summer, and at ∼91 km in early autumn. (3) The first complete range-resolved climatology of GWPE derived from temperature data in the tropical MLT exhibits an altitude-dependent combination of annual oscillation (AO) and semiannual oscillation (SAO). The maximum occurs in spring and the minimum in summer, and a second maximum is in autumn and a second minimum in winter. (4) The GWPE per unit volume reduces below ∼97 km altitude in all seasons. The reduction of GWPE is significant at and below the TILs but becomes faint above; this provides strong support for the mechanism that the formation of upper mesospheric TILs is mainly due to the reduction of GWPE. The climatology of GWPE shows an indeed pronounced altitudinal and temporal correlation with the wind field in the tropical mesopause region published in the literature. This suggests the GW activity in the tropical mesopause region should be manifested mainly by the filtering effect of the critical level of the local background wind and the energy conversion due to local dynamical instability.