Satellite observations of high nighttime ozone at the equatorial mesopause

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Abstract

[1] Measurements by the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry instrument enable the characterization of the seasonal variation of ozone and temperature in the upper mesosphere. These are the first global measurements that resolve both the structure of the secondary ozone maximum at night and the temperature over all seasons of the year. The average nighttime mixing ratios at the altitude of the maximum vary with latitude and season. Analysis shows that the highest mixing ratios are clustered near the equator during equinoxes. The high ozone mixing ratios are observed in exactly the place and time at which the diurnal tide is largest. The diurnal tidal phase is such that coldest temperatures at 95 km occur near midnight. The high ozone is coincident with regions that have both low temperature and low amounts of atomic hydrogen. We focus particularly on ozone mixing ratios in the range of 18–50 ppmv; these occur intermittently in the equinoctial tropics on days when the night temperature is particularly cold. The occurrence of ozone maxima over 20 ppmv was unexpected but is shown in this paper to be consistent with theory and is a result of large-amplitude diurnal tides. The same seasonal and latitudinal characteristics are seen in ozone density measured by Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars.

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