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The Na wind/temperature lidar located at Starfire Optical Range near Albuquerque, New Mexico, provided real time measurements of wind, temperature, and Na density in the mesopause region during the TOMEX rocket campaign in October 2000. The state of the atmosphere in which the rocket was launched into was examined using the lidar measurements. Both convectively and dynamically unstable layers were observed at various times and altitudes during the night. The low convective stability region below 90 km was found to be associated with the diurnal tide. The unstable layers are the combined results of wave and tidal perturbations. Comparison with the thermosphere/ionosphere/mesopshere/electrodynamics general circulation model (TIMEGCM) simulation showed that the model can produce the general feature of the observed atmospheric structure (but with a much smaller diurnal amplitude in temperature), which likely leads to underestimate of instability and gravity wave effects.

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Journal of Geophysical Research