Comparison of nighttime nitric oxide 5.3 μm emissions in the thermosphere measured by MIPAS and SABER

J.L. Gardner, B. Funke, M.G. Mlynczak, M. López-Puertas, Javier Martin-Torres, J.M. Russell III, S.M. Miller, R.D. Sharma, J.R. Winick

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A comparative study of nitric oxide (NO) 5.3 μm emissions in the thermosphere measured by the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) spectrometer and the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) radiometer satellite instruments was conducted for nighttime data collected on 14 June 2003. The agreement between the data sets was very good, within ∼25% over the entire latitude range studied from −58° to + 4°. The MIPAS and SABER data were inverted to retrieve NO volume emission rates. Spectral fitting of the MIPAS data was used to determine the NO(v = 1) rotational and spin-orbit temperatures, which were found to be in nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium (non-LTE) above 110 km. Near 110 km the rotational and spin-orbit temperatures converged, indicating the onset of equilibrium in agreement with the results of non-LTE modeling. Because of the onset of equilibrium the NO rotational and spin-orbit temperatures can be used to estimate the kinetic temperature near 110 km. The results indicate that the atmospheric model NRLMSISE-00 underestimates the kinetic temperature near 110 km for the locations investigated. The SABER instrument 5.3 μm band filter cuts off a significant fraction of the NO(Δv = 1) band, and therefore modeling of NO is necessary to predict the total band radiance. The needed correction factors were directly determined from the MIPAS data, providing validation of the modeled values used in SABER operational data processing. The correction factors were applied to the SABER data to calculate densities of NO(v = 1). A feasibility study was also conducted to investigate the use of NO 5.3 μm emission data to derive NO(v = 0) densities in the thermosphere.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics
Issue numberA10
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Thermosphere: composition and chemistry
  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Instruments and techniques
  • Atmospheric Processes: Remote sensing
  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Constituent sources and sinks
  • nitric oxide


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