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2013 Abstracts

Multiple Peaks in SABER Hydroxyl Mesospheric Airglow Altitude Profiles

Connor George, Utah State University

Electrical and Computer Engineering

The SABER instrument, aboard the TIMED satellite, measures optical data regarding parameters of the Earth’s atmosphere with respect to altitude. Approximately once per minute, SABER performs a limb-scan measurement on the Earth’s atmosphere from which altitude emission profiles of key atmospheric gasses, including hydroxyl at wavelengths of 1.6 μm and 2.0 μm, are derived. Most hydroxyl profiles within the SABER dataset contain a single peak in the airglow altitude profile centered near an altitude of 87 km, but a significant portion of the profiles display two or more local maxima. MATLAB code was written to analyze the geophysical and temporal global distribution of the multiple-peak profiles. Graphs have been created which display relationships between the percentage of multiple-peak profiles and the local time, the cardinal orientation of the SABER device, and the latitude and longitude at which the atmospheric profile was measured. Patterns have been observed in multiple-peak profile distribution with respect to these variables. Possible causes of the multiple-peak occurrences in the hydroxyl altitude profiles include waves, geometrical effects of the SABER instrument, and/or chemistry of the atmosphere. In addition to graphing software, analysis software was written which counts the number of peaks present in any given altitude profile, and which ascertained the percentage of profiles displaying multiple-peak characteristics. A small (<1%) portion of hydroxyl altitude profiles were found to have abnormal distributions due to erroneous or noisy data collected by SABER. Software has also been written to remove such exceptions from the dataset. Additional investigation into the relationship between multiple-peak occurrences and cardinal direction orientation of the SABER device is required in order to further identify the causes for multiple peak profiles. An investigation into seasonal patterns for multiple-peak profiles is to be conducted. As the dataset grows, exception software will be updated to identify invalid altitude profiles. Also, ozone has been found to have multiple-peak altitude profiles similar to those of hydroxyl, and studies complementary to those performed on hydroxyl altitude profiles will be performed on ozone.