2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002
Ozone and Water Vapor: Analyzing their Relationship within the Mesosphere
Erik Ulysses Noble, UCAR/SOARS and Penn State Univ., University Park, PA
Relatively little is known about the mesosphere (50-90 km) as compared with other regions in the atmosphere. The mesosphere is difficult to measure with airborne, ground-based and in situ satellite measurements due to its height and location between the thermosphere and the stratosphere. One element of the mesosphere that is of particular interest is the presence of ozone and its role in the atmospheric processes at these altitudes. Most of the ozone present in the atmosphere resides within the stratosphere, commonly referred to as the ozone layer. A lesser distribution of ozone exists within the mesosphere. In understanding the simpler ozone chemistry of this region, a greater understanding of the ozone chemistry in the stratosphere and throughout the atmosphere can result, as well as a better understanding of the mesosphere. The ozone chemistry above 50 km is controlled predominantly by hydrogen species such as the hydroxyl radical. Reactions involving water vapor in the mesosphere determine hydroxyl distributions. These reactions contribute to ozone destruction, making the distribution of mesospheric ozone directly related to the distribution of water vapor. This research will present a ten-year comparison of satellite measurements of ozone and water vapor within the mesosphere and analyze the relationships between them. While it is generally thought that where water vapor increases within the mesosphere, ozone should decrease at any time of day, strong anticorrelations of the data are observed only at sunset around 80 km. These results indicate that statistical relationships simulating ozone and water vapor within the mesosphere should be updated to include the diurnal variation.

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