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Distribution of meteoric smoke - sensitivity to microphysical properties and atmospheric conditions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2006 (English)In: Atmospheric chemistry and physics, ISSN 1680-7316, Vol. 6, no 12, 4415-4426 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Meteoroids entering the Earth's atmosphere experience strong deceleration and ablate, whereupon the resulting material is believed to re-condense to nanometre-size "smoke particles". These particles are thought to be of great importance for many middle atmosphere phenomena, such as noctilucent clouds, polar mesospheric summer echoes, metal layers, and heterogeneous chemistry. The properties and distribution of meteoric smoke depend on poorly known or highly variable factors such as the amount, composition and velocity of incoming meteoric material, the efficiency of coagulation, and the state and circulation of the atmosphere. This work uses a one-dimensional microphysical model to investigate the sensitivities of meteoric smoke properties to these poorly known or highly variable factors. The resulting uncertainty or variability of meteoric smoke quantities such as number density, mass density, and size distribution are determined. It is found that the two most important factors are the efficiency of the coagulation and background vertical wind. The seasonal variation of the vertical wind in the mesosphere implies strong global and temporal variations in the meteoric smoke distribution. This contrasts the simplistic picture of a homogeneous global meteoric smoke layer, which is currently assumed in many studies of middle atmospheric phenomena. In particular, our results suggest a very low number of nanometre-sized smoke particles at the summer mesopause where they are thought to serve as condensation nuclei for noctilucent clouds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 6, no 12, 4415-4426 p.
Keyword [en]
mesosphere, stratosphere, aerosol, meteoric smoke, condensation nuclei, NLC
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25115OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-25115DiVA: diva2:198933
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7734Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14 Last updated: 2010-01-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Meteoric Aerosols in the Middle Atmosphere
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meteoric Aerosols in the Middle Atmosphere
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the fate of the meteoric smoke in the Middle Atmosphere, and its effect on ice phenomena such as noctilucent clouds (NLC) and polar stratospheric clouds (PSC).

The potential role of NLC as tracer for mesospheric processes and variability, and as a tool for monitoring this remote and inaccessible region, has generated substantial interest within the scientific community. The nucleation of ice in such a dry environment is not trivial. Supersaturation is considered too low for homogeneous nucleation. Hence, pre-existing condensation nuclei are deemed necessary, with smoke particles having long been considered the most likely candidate. Here we show that the atmospheric circulation transports meteoric smoke particles away from the polar region before they coagulate large enough to efficiently act as ice condensation nuclei. We also show that the charging of meteoric smoke, in combination with deviations from the mean thermal state, may solve this dilemma by significantly altering the ice nucleation properties of smoke. Thus, while it is highly questionable whether neutral smoke can provide sufficient amounts of condensation nuclei for ice formation at the polar summer mesopause, charged meteoric smoke proves to be a promising candidate to explain mesospheric ice phenomena as we observe them.

We further show that the bulk of the meteoric material is transported to the Arctic winter stratosphere, yielding significantly higher concentrations of meteoric smoke in the region of PSC nucleation than has previously been believed. Our new predictions of meteoric smoke in this region may thus shed new light on open questions relating to PSC nucleation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Meteorologiska institutionen (MISU), 2008. 32 p.
Keyword
meteoroid, meteor, nucleation, mesosphere, stratosphere, ablation, smoke, NLC, PMSE, PSC
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7734 (URN)978-91-7155-676-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-06-05, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14Bibliographically approved

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