Wednesday, 18 May 2011

EISCAT_3D User Meeting: Science Case Work Package (WP3)

The EISCAT_3D Preparatory Phase Project includes a work package (WP3) on "Science Planning and User Engagement," which is lead by Anita Aikio of the University of Oulu. The work package has, together with invited experts, discussed the Science Case in the area of "Atmospheric Science." The first day of the current 3rd EISCAT_3D User Meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, is dedicated to discussion about this topic. Please refer to the meeting programme for more information.

The following Key Science Questions in Atmospheric Science were identified and presented by Ian McCrea:
  1. Dynamical coupling in the atmosphere
    • What is the three-dimensional structure of the wave fields propagating upwards from the troposphere?  How do their characteristics change as they move upwards to thermospheric heights?
    • How does atmospheric turbulence form and evolve? How is this process different in the different atmospheric layers?
    • What is the relationship between changes in chemistry and changes in dynamics?
    • How do waves and turbulence interact to modify the global-scale circulation of the middle atmosphere?  What effects are seen when the normal circulation is disrupted?
    • What is the relationship between the waves generated in the upper atmosphere and the processes which cause them?
  2. Solar-terrestrial effects on chemistry
    • What are the durations and extents of the energetic particle events which modulate chemistry?
    • How does the wave and tidal climatology change when the heat balance of the middle atmosphere is modulated, for example by changes in chemistry?
    • What processes link these changes to apparent effects at lower altitudes?
    • Can high-resolution continuous observations help validate chemical/dynamical models of the D region?
    • Can we improve our models through targeted active experiments?
  3. Dynamical and chemical coupling in the mesosphere (mesospheric thin layers)
    • How much small-scale structure is contained in mesospheric thin layers? Is this linked to wave activity, or plasma physics, or both?
    • What explains the aspect sensitivity of PMSE and PMWE layers?
    • What is the horizontal and vertical structure of the dust size in PMSE layers, and how does this vary?
    • Are PMWE layers linked to both dust and turbulence, or only to turbulence? How do they form, and what determines when they appear?
    • Are mesospheric thin layers signs of global change, connected to human activity?
    • Turbulence and vorticity effects
    • Heterogenuous chemistry on particles in mesosphere incl ice and meteoritic material
    • Charging processes, how are particles charged in the mesosphere
  4. Stratosphere and troposphere
    • How does turbulence form and develop?
    • How do stratospheric warming events affect the atmosphere at other heights and latitudes?
    • What are the effects of turbulence and wave dissipation on energy exchange between atmospheric layers?
    • Can the upper atmosphere exert a downward control on troposphere? How?
    • How do solar irradiance variability affect the stratosphere
  5. Short-term and long-term change
    • How does long-term change in the troposphere affect its energy exchange with the other atmospheric layers?
    • Is greenhouse warming of the lower atmopshere resulting in long-term cooling of the upper atmopsher? If so, what effect does that have?
    • What are the problems of our current models of the upper atosphere, and what implications might these have for predicatabilty?
    • Can we use EISCAT_3D data as a basis to make improved predictions of shorter-term variations in the Earth's upper atmopshere, such as those connected to the solar cycle?

Note, that this is a draft list! Please consider the following questions:

1. Are the section headings correct?
2. Are there major areas or important questions missing?
3. Are the Key Science Questions appropriate?
4. Have some questions been answered already?
5. Will EISCAT_3D really be able to make a contribution?

Get involved now! Please send your comments to Ian McCrea or Anita Aikio.

EISCAT_3D — It's your radar!

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