First height comparison of noctilucent clouds and simultaneous PMSE

Urs Wälchli, Jacek Stegman, Georg Witt, John Y.N. Cho, Clark A. Miller, Michael C. Kelley, Wesley E. Swartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


On the night of August 9–10, 1991, two rocket payloads were launched into simultaneously occurring noctilucent clouds (NLC) and polar mesospheric summer echoes (PMSE) above Esrange, a third rocket payload was launched into a NLC where a PMSE was detected 5 minutes later above Esrange, in Sweden as part of the NLC‐91 campaign. An aim of this experiment was to compare the vertical structures and locations of the NLC and PMSE events. To this end, in situ optical photometers and particle impact sensors were used to measure the altitude and vertical structure of the NLC layer, while the Cornell University portable radar interferometer (CUPRI) was used to probe the PMSE. Although this comparison is complicated by the horizontal separations between the in situ measurements and the radar volume, and low electron densities which reduced the overall radar reflectivity, we conclude that the PMSE layer in the CUPRI radar volume remained above the NLC layer detected by the in situ instruments by 300 to 2000 m throughout the experiment. We interpret this result as supporting the view that PMSE are more likely to result from the presence of aerosols smaller than the ones optically detectable as NLCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2845-2848
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'First height comparison of noctilucent clouds and simultaneous PMSE'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this