The Atmospheric Dynamics Group studies dynamical motions in the atmosphere at heights from ground level to 100 km altitude. We use a variety of instruments, including radar, radiosonde balloons, high resolution turbulence probes and theoretical modeling. We are especially interested in motions at small scales, such as turbulence and internal buoyancy (gravity) waves, but also study longer term motions like atmospheric tides and planetary waves.
Our principal experimental research instruments are atmospheric radars, and we operate two wind-profilers, four meteor radars and jointly collaborate with Prof. J. MacDougall in sharing an MF radar. These instruments all measure atmospheric wind motions, although in different ways. The wind-profiler radars utilize radio-wave scatter from inhomogeneities in the clear air which are generated by turbulence and other small-scale phemomena, whilst the meteor radars use scatter from meteor trails at 80 to 100 km altitude. The MF radar uses inhomogeneities in electron density concentrations in the region between 60 and 100 km altitude. In all cases, we employ the Doppler shift of the back-scattered radio waves to calculate the velocities of the scattering entities and hence the velocity of the atmospheric winds at the height of scatter.
Two of our radars are located near London, Ontario (close to the University of Western Ontario) and two are at Resolute bay in Nunavut (Canada), with each site possessing a wind-profiler radar and a meteor radar. The MF radar is located at the London site. In addition we have meteor radars at Yellowknife in the North-West Territories of Canada, and at Socorro in New Mexico (USA). The Socorro radar is in fact provided by Mardoc Inc, through a leasing arrangement with UWO.
We employ these instruments, together with occasional radiosonde flights, to study atmospheric motions and hence infer information about the ways in which energy and momentum are carried around in the atmosphere. This helps us to better understand the atmosphere, and in the longer term helps improve our ability to forecast atmospheric events.
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