• Open Access

Mesospheric temperature trends at mid-latitudes in summer



[1] The Leibniz-Institute Middle Atmosphere Model LIMA is used to study mesospheric temperature trends in summer during the last 5 decades (1961–2009). In order to account for realistic atmospheric conditions LIMA adapts several observational data sets, namely a) tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures and winds from ECMWF at heights 0–35 km, b) daily Lyman-α fluxes, c) monthly carbon dioxide concentrations since 1961, and d) annual total ozone from ground-based data for 1964–1978 and monthly ozone profiles up to 0.60 hPa from satellites since 1979. This paper presents a comparison of simulated temperature trends with a) ground-based observations of lidar temperatures at 44°N, b) phase height measurements at mid-latitudes (51°N), and c) temperature trends derived from satellite data. In general there is excellent agreement between trends from LIMA and observations. Cooling in the mesosphere is on the order of 2–4 K/decade. The magnitude of the mesospheric temperature trend varies during the last five decades. In particular, the period from 1979–1997 shows large mesospheric cooling of 3–5 K/decade. This large cooling is primarily caused by long-term changes of ozone in the upper stratosphere in combination with a CO2 increase. For the first time, modeling of mesospheric temperature trends confirm the extraordinarily large trends from observations.