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Wintertime water vapor in the polar upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere: First satellite observations by Odin submillimeter radiometer
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Chalmers University of Technology. Department of Radio and Space Science.
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Atmosphere in the Earth System.
National Center for Atmospheric Research. Atmospheric Chemistry Division.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, Vol. 114, D10304- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper we present Odin submillimeter radiometer (Odin/SMR) water vapor measurements in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere with focus on the polar latitudes in winter. Measurements since 2003 have been compiled to provide a first overview of the water vapor distribution in this altitude range. Our observations show a distinct seasonal increase of the water vapor concentration during winter at a given altitude above 90 km. Above 95 km the observations exhibit the annual water vapor maximum during wintertime. Model simulations from the Hamburg Model of the Neutral and Ionized Atmosphere (HAMMONIA) and the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 3 (WACCM3) show results that are very similar to the observations. We suggest that the observed increase in water vapor during winter is mainly caused by a combination of upwelling of moister air from lower altitudes and diffusion processes. Distinct interhemispheric differences in the winter water vapor distribution in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere can be observed, both in the observations and the model results. The seasonal water vapor increase in the polar regions is much more pronounced in the Southern Hemisphere winter where higher concentrations can be observed. This observation is most likely due to interhemispheric differences in the underlying dynamics and diffusion processes

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 114, D10304- p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25445DOI: 10.1029/2008JD011462ISI: 000266363900004OAI: diva2:199730
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8167Available from: 2008-09-10 Created: 2008-09-10 Last updated: 2010-01-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Observations of water vapour in the middle atmosphere
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Observations of water vapour in the middle atmosphere
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas and plays a fundamental role in the climate system and for the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere. This thesis presents observations of water vapour in the middle atmosphere with a particular focus on the mesosphere. The majority of these observations presented in this thesis have been performed by the Swedish satellite Odin, providing global observations since 2001. Further observations come from the Hygrosonde-2 campaign in December 2001 based on balloon and rocket-borne measurements. A general overview of Odin's water vapour measurements in the middle atmosphere is given. The optimisation of the mesospheric water vapour retrieval is presented in detail.

The analysis of the observations has focused mainly on different dynamical aspects utilising the characteristic of water vapour as a dynamical tracer in the middle atmosphere. One application is the mesospheric part of the semi-annual oscillation (SAO). The observations reveal that this oscillation is the dominant pattern of variability between 30°S and 10°N in the mesosphere up to an altitude of 80 km. Above 90 km the SAO is dominating at all latitudes in the tropics and subtropics. It is shown that the SAO exhibits a distinct phase change between 75 km and 80 km in the tropical region.

This thesis also presents the first satellite observations of water vapour in the altitude range between 90 km and 110 km, extending the observational database up into the lower thermosphere. In the polar regions water vapour exhibits the annual maximum during winter time above 95 km, mainly caused by upwelling during this season. This behaviour is different from that observed in the subjacent part of the mesosphere where the annual maximum occurs during summer time.

The Hygrosonde-2 campaign provided a high resolution measurement of water vapour in the vicinity of the polar vortex edge. This edge prevents horizontal transport causing different water vapour characteristics inside and outside the polar vortex. The observations show that this separating behaviour extends high up into the mesosphere. Small scale transitions in the Hygrosonde-2 profile between conditions inside and outside the vortex coincided with wind shears caused by gravity waves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Meteorologiska institutionen (MISU), 2008. 63 p.
water vapour, mesosphere, stratosphere, dynamics, Odin satellite, limb sounding, microwave, tropics, polar winter
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8167 (URN)978–91–7155–721–6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-09-19, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2008-09-10 Created: 2008-09-10Bibliographically approved

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Gumbel, Jörg
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