Seasonal and local time variability of ripples from airglow imager observations in US and Japan
Ripples as seen in airglow imagers are small wavy structures with short horizontal wavelengths (<15 km). Ripples are thought to form as the result of local instabilities, which are believed to occur when the amplitude of gravity waves becomes large enough. We have investigated ripple formation based on years of airglow imager observations located at Fort Collins, Colorado (41° N, 105° W) and Misato Observatory, Japan (34° N, 135° E)/Shigaraki MU Observatory (35° N, 136° E). Na temperature-wind lidar observations are employed to detect convective and dynamic instabilities in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) region over Fort Collins, Colorado. Seasonal variation of the ripple occurrence in Colorado is compared to that of the lidar-measured instability. The occurrence frequency of ripples varies semiannually, with maxima occurring during solstices and minima during equinoxes in both Colorado and Japan. However, the probability of convective and dynamic instabilities varies annually with a peak in Colorado winter. The seasonal variation of the occurrence frequency of ripples correlates with that of the gravity wave variances in the MLT. Ripple occurrence over Colorado also shows strong local time dependence, but it bears little resemblance to the local time dependence of instability probability.