Microphysical Properties of Mesospheric Aerosols: An Overview of In Situ-Results from the ECOMA Project
Six sounding rockets were launched within the ECOMA (=“Existence and Charge state Of Meteoric smoke particles in the middle Atmosphere”) project to study the characteristics of meteoric smoke particles (MSPs) and mesospheric ice particles, as well as their possible microphysical relation. The launches were conducted during three campaigns from the Andøya Rocket Range (69°N, 16°E), one in September 2006, and the other two in the summers of 2007 and 2008. This chapter provides an overview of these observations and presents the corresponding geophysical results with special emphasis on our understanding of the micropyhsics of mesospheric ice particles. Most notably, we are able to confirm the existence of MSPs at all altitudes between 60 and 85 km in September, and a seasonal variation that is consistent with previous model studies in which MSP-variability is mainly driven by the global circulation. Together with these model studies as well as recent satellite observations of MSPs our results hence cast some doubt on a standard assumption of state-of-the-art microphysical models of mesospheric ice clouds, namely that ice nucleation mainly occurs heterogeneously on MSPs.
KeywordsDirect Monte Carlo Simulation Polar Summer Collector Plate Altitude Profile Particle Charge Density
This work was supported by the German Space Agency (DLR) under grants 50 OE 0301 and 50 OE 0801 (Project ECOMA). The Norwegian part of the project was supported by the Norwegian Space Centre and the Research Council of Norway (grant 177295).
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