Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

Extension of the MSIS Thermosphere Model into the middle and lower atmosphere


  • A. E. Hedin


The MSIS-86 empirical model has been revised in the lower thermosphere and extended into the mesosphere and lower atmosphere to provide a single analytic model for calculating temperature and density profiles representative of the climatological average for various geophysical conditions. Tabulations from the Handbook for MAP 16 are the primary guide for the lower atmosphere and are supplemented by historical rocket and incoherent scatter data in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere. Low-order spherical harmonics and Fourier series are used to describe the major variations throughout the atmosphere including latitude, annual, semiannual, and simplified local time and longitude variations. While month to month details cannot be completely represented, lower atmosphere temperature data are fit to an overall standard deviation of 3 K and pressure to 2%. Comparison with rocket and other data indicates that the model represents current knowledge of the climatological average reasonably well, although there is some conflict as to details near the mesopause.