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Upper atmospheric thermal structure in Antarctica


THE mesospheric wind results derived for atmospheric altitudes between 50 and 90 km from meteorological rocket flights carried out at Molodezhnaya station (67° 40′ S, 45° 51′ E) in Antarctica have been discussed in ref, 1. The rapid shifts in both zonal and meridional components of the winds during May to July indicated a sudden ‘explosive’ change in temperature distribution in the upper mesosphere over Antarctica in the winter regime. I have investigated this phenomenon and extended the study down to the stratosphere; the results are discussed here. The meridional and the zonal temperature gradients at altitudes of 65, 70 and 75 km, derived from the thermal wind equations using the corresponding upper wind and temperature results, have also been studied. Atmospheric temperatures up to an altitude of about 80 km were also measured and the accidental root mean square errors in the determinations were as follows: in the altitude region 60 to 80 km it does not exceed 7 to 10 °C; at 50km it is 5 °C, and below 40km the error is less than 3 °C.

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  1. 1

    Sehra, P. S., Nature, 252, 683 (1974).

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