AIM Banner


AGU Conference Presentation Outline and Video
December 11, 2007

Results and Conclusions from the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) Mission’s First Global-Scale, Full-Season View of Polar Mesospheric Clouds

Dr. James M. Russell III,
AIM Principal Investigator,
Hampton University

The AIM goal is to determine why Noctilucent Clouds form and vary.

NLC Photograph
Photo Credit: Tom Eklund, July 28, 2001, Valkeakoski, Finland

View Movies
Item No. 1: Noctilucent Cloud Sightings
Item No. 2: What is a Noctilucent Cloud?


PMC brightness trends over the last 27 years

PMC Trends A
PMC Trends  B

Credit: PMC trends from analysis of SBUV satellite data performed by DeLand, Shettle, Thomas, and Olivero (JGR, vol. 112, D10315, 2007)

The AIM Suite of Instruments

CIPS Instrument
SOFIE Instrument
CDE Instrument

The AIM satellite has three scientific instruments on board: the Cloud Imaging and Particle Size Experiment (CIPS), a four-camera system that will study cloud morphology; the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) that will measure the clouds and temperature and constituents involved in their formation; and the Cosmic Dust Experiment (CDE) that will measure one possible source of particles needed for cloud formation.

View Movie
Item No. 3: Tour of the AIM Instruments


AIM Observes Ice Layer Not Previously Detected

The first season of AIM data shows that Polar Mesospheric Clouds exist in a much broader altitude layer than was believed to be the case before AIM was launched.

SOFIE Data 2007
Before AIM - Ice layer was expected to exist in a narrow altitude range centered around 52 miles


SOFIE Data 2007 Ice Layer
After AIM - Ice exists in one continuous layer extending from 49 to ~ 56 miles altitude

High SOFIE sensitivity allows subvisible ice to be measured. This was suspected from radar echos, but never observed before AIM.

Dr. Scott M. Bailey,
AIM Deputy Principal Investigator,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

PMC Seasonal Variability

View Movie
Item No. 1: Full 2007 Season of North Polar Mesospheric Clouds

Dr. Gary E. Thomas,
AIM Co-Investigator
University of Colorado

“Ice Rings” from CIPS

CIPS Ice Rings

Convective outflow boundaries off the coast of Cuba:

View Movie
Item No. 2: Cloud Rings off the Coast of Cuba

A series of low-level convective outflow boundaries was seen moving off the coast of Cuba on June 8, 2007 in GOES-12 visible imagery.

NASA's Sun-Earth Education Forum Logo

The AIM mission is a part of
NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.

Responsible Official: James M. Russell III

Web Curator: Emily M. W. Hill
Emily Hill Designs