Letter | Published:

Association between the mid-winter stratospheric circulation and the first observation in the following summer of noctilucent clouds

Naturevolume 247pages269271 (1974) | Download Citation



NOCTILUCENT clouds (NLCs) are seen mainly in the summer months at high latitudes over both hemispheres. They appear in a thin layer at a height of about 82 km in the mesopause region where temperatures are the coldest in the Earth's atmosphere. A temperature of 150 K or less at the mesopause has been shown, by rocket soundings in the presence of NLCs, to be a necessary condition for the existence of these clouds1. Rocket sampling experiments and ground-based observations indicate that NLC particles probably consist of a volatile substance, believed to be ice, coated on volatile nuclei that may be hydrated ions2,3.

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    Hamilton, R. A., Met. Mag. Lond., 93, 201 (1964).

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    Scott, A. F. D., COSPAR Meeting, Konstanz (June 1973).

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    Smith, W. S., Theon, J. S., Casey, J. F., Azcarraga, A., and Horvath, J. J., NASA TR-R-360 (Washington, DC 1971).

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  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London

    • A. F. D. SCOTT


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