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Title: First global observations of the mesospheric potassium layer
Authors: Dawkins, E.C.M.Plane, J.M.C.Chipperfield, M.P.Feng, W.Gumbel, J.Hedin, J.Höffner, J.Friedman, J.S.
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Issue Date: 2014
Published in: Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 41 (2014), No. 15
Publisher: Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Abstract: Metal species, produced by meteoric ablation, act as useful tracers of upper atmosphere dynamics and chemistry. Of these meteoric metals, K is an enigma: at extratropical latitudes, limited available lidar data show that the K layer displays a semiannual seasonal variability, rather than the annual pattern seen in other metals such as Na and Fe. Here we present the first near-global K retrieval, where K atom number density profiles are derived from dayglow measurements made by the Optical Spectrograph and Infrared Imager System spectrometer on board the Odin satellite. This robust retrieval produces density profiles with typical layer peak errors of ±15% and a 2km vertical grid resolution. We demonstrate that these retrieved profiles compare well with available lidar data and show for the first time that the unusual semiannual behavior is near-global in extent. This new data set has wider applications for improving understanding of the K chemistry and of related upper atmosphere processes. Key Points First quantitative retrieval of the terrestrial K layer from space The unusual semiannual behavior of K is near global in extent.
Keywords: mesospheric metal; potassium layer; satellite retrieval; Metals; Potassium; Upper atmosphere; Atmospheric chemistry; Optical radar; Atmosphere dynamics; Density profile; Extratropical latitudes; Global observation; Optical spectrograph and infrared imager systems; Satellite retrieval; Seasonal variability; Vertical grids; Metal species; Optical radar; Search engines; atmospheric chemistry; lidar; mesosphere; meteor; potassium; seasonal variation; upper atmosphere
DDC: 550
License: CC BY 3.0 Unported
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