Tomographic reconstruction of atmospheric gravity wave parameters from airglow observations
- 1Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Stratosphere (IEK-7), Research Centre Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany
- 2Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research, University of Wuppertal, 42119 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 the dynamics of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). 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 point 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 2-D reconstruction of the atmospheric state, in particular of GW structures. The feasibility of this tomographic retrieval approach is assessed using simulated measurements. It shows that one major advantage of this observation strategy is that GWs can be observed on a much smaller scale than conventional observations. 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 from conventional limb sounding.