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Investigations of the Dynamics and Thermodynamics of the Mesosphere Lower Thermosphere and Upper Thermosphere at the Polar Regions with Optical Ground-Based Remote Sensing

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Final rept. 15 Apr 1989-14 Jul 1992

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The advances in diagnostic techniques and basic studies concerning the Earths atmosphere made under the auspices of AFOSR are described in this report. Highlights of the investigations are the following a the development and exploitation of a new field of atmospheric investigations using molecular species as passive tracers of the motion and temperature of the mesosphere. This new development is the first method devised to measure simultaneously the winds and temperatures of this poorly understood region of the atmosphere. b The attainment of a working, stable, rugged, monolithic electrooptic solid-state cavity whose spacing can be arbitrarily and precisely manipulated by applied electric field. This breakthrough in interference optics provides the opportunity to use small high- luminosity, high-resolution Fabry-Perot spectrometers which require no adjustments for their operation. Such instruments will make it possible to make unmanned observations of unique geophysical events at isolated stations. c Because of the proven robustness of our AFOSR- supported developments in teleautonomous operation of instrumentation, we have installed and are conducting two high-resolution diagnostic ground-based atmospheric experiments in the Southern Hemisphere at South Pole Antarctica and New Zealand. Neither of these experiments is accessible to the investigators more than twice yearly they have been successfully operated for six instrument- years. The data obtained from the field experiments have increased the basic understanding of upper atmosphere dynamics and circulation in the two polar regions. The results of these investigations are published in the open literature, and have contributed to current global semi-empirical models of these regions of the atmosphere.

Subject Categories:

  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices

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