• semidiurnal tide;
  • mesopause;
  • Na lidar

[1] On the basis of Colorado State University (CSU) Na lidar observations over full diurnal cycles from May 2002 to April 2006, a harmonic analysis was performed to extract semidiurnal perturbations in mesopause region temperature and zonal and meridional winds over Fort Collins, Colorado (40.6°N, 105.1°W). The observed monthly results are in good agreement with MF radar tidal climatology for Urbana, Illinois, and with predictions of the Hamburg Model of the Neutral and Ionized Atmosphere (HAMMONIA), sampled at the CSU Na lidar coordinates. The observed semidiurnal tidal period perturbation within the mesopause region is found to be dominated by propagating modes in winter and equinoctial months with a combined vertical wavelength varying from 50 km to almost 90 km and by a mode with evanescent behavior and longer vertical wavelength (100–150 km) in summer months, most likely due to dominance of (2, 2) and (2, 3) tidal (Hough) modes. The observed semidiurnal tidal amplitude shows strong seasonal variation, with a large amplitude during the winter months, with a higher growth rate above ∼85–90 km, and minimal amplitudes during the summer months. Maximum tidal amplitudes over 50 m/s for wind and 12 K for temperature occur during fall equinox. A detailed comparison with HAMMONIA predictions shows excellent agreement in semidiurnal phases. HAMMONIA-predicted semidiurnal amplitudes generally agree well with observations; however, HOMMONIA underestimates temperature amplitudes in some of the nonsummer months as well as zonal wind and meridional wind amplitudes in April and September but overestimates them in February. To reveal the effects of the atmospheric background on vertical propagation of tidal modes and their relative importance in the composite semidiurnal tide during different seasons, we use the lidar-observed monthly mean temperature and zonal wind from the same data set as well as HAMMONIA output to calculate the vertical wave number seasonal variations of the major tidal modes of the migrating semidiurnal tide. This leads to a qualitative understanding of the lidar-observed and HAMMONIA-predicted seasonal variation of the semidiurnal tidal perturbation.