Water vapor measurements in the mesosphere from Mauna Loa over solar cycle 23

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Abstract

[1] The Water Vapor Millimeter-wave Spectrometer (WVMS) system has been making measurements from the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change site at Mauna Loa, Hawaii (19.5°N, 204.4°E), since 1996, covering nearly the complete period of solar cycle 23. The WVMS measurements are compared with Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) (1992–2005), Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) (2004 to present), and Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) Fourier transform spectrometer (2004 to present) measurements in the mesosphere. In the upper mesosphere Lyman α radiation photodissociates water vapor; hence, water vapor in the upper mesosphere varies with the solar cycle. We calculate fits to the WVMS and HALOE water vapor data in this region using the Lasp Interactive Solar Irradiance Datacenter Lyman α data set. This is, to our knowledge, the only published validation of the sensitivity of HALOE water vapor measurements to the solar cycle, and the HALOE and WVMS water vapor measurements show a very similar sensitivity to the solar cycle. Once the solar cycle variations are taken into account, the primary water vapor variations at all of these altitudes from 1992 to the present are an increase from 1992 to 1996, a maximum in water vapor in 1996, and small changes from 1997 to the present. Measurements from 2004 to 2008, which are available from WVMS, MLS, and ACE, show not only good agreement in interannual variations but also excellent agreement in their absolute measurements (to within better than 3%) of the water vapor mixing ratio from 50 to 80 km.

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