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

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doi:10.5194/amt-2017-118
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Tomographic reconstruction of atmospheric gravity wave parameters from airglow observations
Rui Song1,2, Martin Kaufmann1, Jörn Ungermann1, Manfred Ern1, Guang Liu3, and Martin Riese1 1Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Stratosphere (IEK-7), Research Centre Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
2Physics Department, University of Wuppertal, 42097 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 atmospheric dynamics. Especially in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) dissipating GWs provide a major contribution to the driving of the global wind system. 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 stare 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 reconstruction of a 2-dimensional atmospheric state, in particular of gravity wave structures. As no real data is available, the feasibility of this tomographic retrieval is carried out with simulation data in this work. It shows that one major advantage of this observation strategy is that much smaller scale GWs can be observed. 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 for 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. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2017-118, in review, 2017.
Rui Song et al.
Rui Song et al.
Rui Song et al.

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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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