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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 4601-4612, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-4601-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
30 Nov 2017
Tomographic reconstruction of atmospheric gravity wave parameters from airglow observations
Rui Song1,2, Martin Kaufmann1, Jörn Ungermann1, Manfred Ern1, Guang Liu3, and Martin Riese1,2 1Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Stratosphere (IEK-7), Research Centre Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
2Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research, University of Wuppertal, 42119 Wuppertal, Germany
3Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Sciences, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Abstract. Gravity waves (GWs) play an important role in the dynamics of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). Therefore, global observations of GWs in the MLT region are of particular interest. The small scales of GWs, however, pose a major problem for the observation of GWs from space. We propose a new observation strategy for GWs in the mesopause region by combining limb and sub-limb satellite-borne remote sensing measurements for improving the spatial resolution of temperatures that are retrieved from atmospheric soundings. In our study, we simulate satellite observations of the rotational structure of the O2 A-band nightglow. A key element of the new method is the ability of the instrument or the satellite to operate in so-called target mode, i.e. to point at a particular point in the atmosphere and collect radiances at different viewing angles. These multi-angle measurements of a selected region allow for tomographic 2-D reconstruction of the atmospheric state, in particular of GW structures. The feasibility of this tomographic retrieval approach is assessed using simulated measurements. It shows that one major advantage of this observation strategy is that GWs can be observed on a much smaller scale than conventional observations. We derive a GW sensitivity function, and it is shown that target mode observations are able to capture GWs with horizontal wavelengths as short as  ∼ 50 km for a large range of vertical wavelengths. This is far better than the horizontal wavelength limit of 100–200 km obtained from conventional limb sounding.

Citation: Song, R., Kaufmann, M., Ungermann, J., Ern, M., Liu, G., and Riese, M.: Tomographic reconstruction of atmospheric gravity wave parameters from airglow observations, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 4601-4612, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-4601-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Gravity waves (GWs) play an important role in atmospheric dynamics. In this work, we propose a new observation strategy for GWs in the mesopause region by combining limb and sub-limb satellite-borne remote sensing measurements for improving the spatial resolution of temperatures that are retrieved from atmospheric soundings. It shows that one major advantage of this observation strategy is that much smaller-scale GWs can be observed.
Gravity waves (GWs) play an important role in atmospheric dynamics. In this work, we propose a...
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