On the horizontal and temporal structure of noctilucent clouds as observed by satellite and lidar at ALOMAR (69N)



[1] Simultaneous and common volume observations of Noctilucent Clouds (NLC) and Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC) have been performed above the ALOMAR research station in Northern Norway (69°N, 16°E) from ground and space, respectively. A detailed case study on August 5, 2008 shows that the measured particle sizes and T-matrix simulations of the optical properties allow to combine the two observation techniques. From the ground, the observations were performed by lidar sounding of the temporal evolution of the cloud at two locations separated by about 40 km, before, during and after the coincidence. From space, the CIPS instrument onboard the AIM satellite observed the horizontal structure of the cloud. Using mesospheric radar wind measurements at ALOMAR the advection of the cloud particles is calculated and the temporal evolution of the cloud as seen from ground is compared with the horizontal structure observed from satellite. This comparison allows estimation of the timescales during which the clouds behave as passive tracers. We find that during this case study cloud structures larger than about 5 km × 5 km and oscillations slower than about one minute behaved like a passive tracer for up to one hour corresponding to horizontal scales of about 300 km. However, if the cloud shows wave structures with brightness modulations of 20% microphysical changes might take place on scales of minutes and kilometers.