Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
Research article
11 Aug 2016
Research article |  | 11 Aug 2016

Mesospheric temperature soundings with the new, daylight-capable IAP RMR lidar

Michael Gerding, Maren Kopp, Josef Höffner, Kathrin Baumgarten, and Franz-Josef Lübken

Abstract. Temperature measurements by lidar are an important tool for the understanding of the mean state of the atmosphere as well as the propagation of gravity waves and thermal tides. Though, mesospheric lidar soundings are often limited to nighttime conditions (e.g., solar zenith angle  >  96°) due to the low signal-to-noise ratio during the day. By this, examination of long-period gravity waves and tides is inhibited, as well as soundings in summer at polar latitudes. We developed a new daylight-capable Rayleigh–Mie–Raman (RMR) lidar at our site in Kühlungsborn, Germany (54° N, 12° E), that is in routine operation since 2010 for temperature soundings up to 90 km or  ∼  75 km (night or day) and soundings of noctilucent clouds. Here we describe the setup of the system with special emphasis on the daylight suppression methods like spatial and spectral filtering. The small bandwidth of the Fabry–Pérot etalons for spectral filtering of the received signal induces an altitude-dependent transmission of the detector. As a result, the signal is no longer proportional to the air density and the hydrostatic integration of the profile results in systematic temperature errors of up to 4 K. We demonstrate a correction method and the validity of correction by comparison with data obtained by our co-located, nighttime-only RMR lidar where no etalon is installed. As a further example a time series of temperature profiles between 20 and 80 km is presented for day and night of 9–10 March 2014. Together with the other data of March 2014 these profiles are used to calculate tidal amplitudes. It is found that tidal amplitudes vary between ∼  1 and 5 K depending on altitude.

Short summary
Temperature soundings by lidar are an important tool for the understanding of the middle atmosphere, including gravity waves and tides. Though, mesospheric lidar soundings at daytime are rare. We describe a daylight-capable RMR lidar with optical bandwidths in the range of the Doppler broadened laser backscatter. We account for the systematic temperature error induced by the optical filter, and present examples of daylight-independent temperature sounding as well as tidal analysis.