Description of the course

This is the second part of a 15 hp course that deals with the Earth's stratosphere, mesosphere and lower thermosphere and it is recommended to have earlier knowledge about the middle atmosphere corresponding to the Masters course MO8012 (The Middle Atmosphere, 7.5 hp) that will run over the second half of the spring semester.

In this course we will investigate processes that govern the middle atmosphere both as a part of the climate system and as a transition region between space and the lower atmosphere. A particular focus will be on ongoing scientific efforts that connect dynamic, radiative and microphysical processes over a wide range of scales. Part of the course will also be devoted to observational techniques applied to the middle atmosphere.

Topics covered are:

  • Middle atmosphere structure and general circulation
  • Energetics of the middle atmosphere
  • From global to turbulence scales: Planetary waves, tides and gravity waves
  • Wave/mean-flow interactions
  • The ionospheric D-, E- and F-region
  • Solar-terrestrial interactions
  • Airglow and aurora
  • Meteoric material, noctilucent clouds and polar mesosphere summer echoes
  • Variability patterns and trends in the middle atmosphere
  • Satellite observations, radiative transfer and retrieval techniques
  • Lidar and radar techniques
  • In-situ techniques from sounding rockets and balloons

How is the course organized?

Lectures and exercises, 25%-pace with 2-3 meetings per month


Project assignments and student seminars on selected topics


Starting after summer and spanning the whole fall semester. Start date TBD.

Course Literature

G. P. Brasseur and S. Solomon, "Aeronomy of the Middle Atmosphere", 2005.
Selected research and review articles.

Responsible teacher - contact

Jörg Gumbel