New Non-LTE Model of OH and CO2 Emission in the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere and its Application to retrieving Nighttime Parameters




Panka, Peter

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The hydroxyl, OH, and carbon dioxide, CO2, molecules and oxygen atoms, O(3P), are important parameters that characterize the chemistry, energetics, and dynamics of the nighttime mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) region. Hence, there is much interest in obtaining high quality observations of these parameters in order to study the short-term variability as well as the long-term trends in characteristics of the MLT region. The Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument on board the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics, and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite has been taking global, simultaneous measurements of limb infrared radiance in 10 spectral channels, including the OH 2.0 and 1.6-micron and CO2 4.3-micron emissions channels, continuously since late January 2002. These measurements can be interpreted using sophisticated non-Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (non-LTE) models of OH and CO2 infrared emissions which can then be applied to obtain densities of these parameters (2.0 and 1.6-micron channel for O(3P)/OH and 4.3-micron channel for CO2). The latest non-LTE models of these molecules, however, do not fully represent all the dominant energy transfer mechanisms which influence their vibrational level distributions and infrared emissions. In particular, non-LTE models of CO2 4.3-micron emissions currently under-predict SABER measurements by up to 80%, and its application for the retrieval of CO2 will result in unrealistic densities. Additionally, current O(3P) retrievals from SABER OH emissions have been reported to be at least 30% higher compared to studies using other instruments. Methods to obtain OH total densities from SABER measurements have yet to be developed. Recent studies, however, have discovered a new energy transfer mechanism which influences both OH and CO2 infrared emissions, OH(v)->O(1D)->N2(v)->CO2(v3). This study focuses on the impact of this new mechanism on OH and CO2 infrared emissions as well as model applications for the retrieval of nighttime O(3P), OH, and CO2 densities.



Aeronomy, Atmospheric sciences, Energy Transfer, Infrared emissions, Mesopshere lower thermosphere, Non-LTE, Retrieval, SABER