Comparison of global datasets of sodium densities in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere from GOMOS, SCIAMACHY and OSIRIS measurements and WACCM model simulations from 2008 to 2012

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Langowski, MP ; von Savigny, C ; Burrows, JP ; Fussen, D ; Dawkins, ECM ; Feng, W ; Plane, JMC ; Marsh, DR (2017)
  • Publisher: Copernicus Publications
  • Journal: (issn: 1867-8548, eissn: 1867-8548)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.5194/amt-2016-416

During the last decade, multiple limb sounding satellites have measured the global sodium (Na) number densities in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT).Datasets are now available from GOMOS, SCIAMACHY (both on Envisat) and OSIRIS/Odin. Furthermore, global model simulations of the Na layer in the MLT simulated with WACCM-Na are available. In this paper, we compare these global datasets. Globally, there is an agreement in the observed and simulated monthly average of Na vertical column densities that were compared with each other. They show a clear seasonal cycle with a summer minimum most pronounced at the poles. They also show signs of a semi-annual oscillation in the equatorial region. The vertical column densities vary between 0.5&thinsp;&times;&thinsp;10<sup>9</sup>&thinsp;cm<sup>&minus;2</sup> to 7&thinsp;&times;&thinsp;10<sup>9</sup>&thinsp;cm<sup>&minus;2</sup> near the poles and between 3&thinsp;&times;&thinsp;10<sup>9</sup>&thinsp;cm<sup>&minus;2</sup> to 4&thinsp;&times;&thinsp;10<sup>9</sup>&thinsp;cm<sup>&minus;2</sup> at the equator. The phase of the seasonal cycle and semi-annual oscillation shows small differences between the different instruments. The full width at half maximum of the profiles is 10 to 16&thinsp;km for most latitudes, but significantly smaller in the polar summer. The centroid altitudes of the measured sodium profiles range from 89 to 95&thinsp;km, while the model shows on average 2 to 4&thinsp;km lower centroid altitudes. This coincides with a 3&thinsp;km lower mesopause altitude in the WACCM simulations compared to measurements, which may be the reason for the low centroid altitudes. Despite this global 2 to 4&thinsp;km shift, the model captures latitudinal and temporal variations. The variation of the WACCM dataset during the year at different latitudes is similar to the one of the measurements. Furthermore, the differences between the measured profiles with different instruments and therefore different local times are also present in the model simulated profiles. This capturing of latitutinal and temporal variations is also found for the vertical column densities and profile widths.
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