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The Halogen Occultation Experiment


  • James M. Russell III,

  • Larry L. Gordley,

  • Jae H. Park,

  • S. Roland Drayson,

  • W. Donald Hesketh,

  • Ralph J. Cicerone,

  • Adrian F. Tuck,

  • John E. Frederick,

  • John E. Harries,

  • Paul J. Crutzen


The Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) was launched on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) spacecraft September 12, 1991, and after a period of outgassing, it began science observations October 11. The experiment uses solar occultation to measure vertical profiles of O3, HCl, HF, CH4, H2O, NO, NO2, aerosol extinction, and temperature versus pressure with an instantaneous vertical field of view of 1.6 km at the Earth limb. Latitudinal coverage is from 80°S to 80°N over the course of 1 year and includes extensive observations of the Antarctic region during spring. The altitude range of the measurements extends from about 15 km to ≈ 60–130 km, depending on channel. Experiment operations have been essentially flawless, and all performance criteria either meet or exceed specifications. Internal data consistency checks, comparisons with correlative measurements, and qualitative comparisons with 1985 atmospheric trace molecule spectroscopy (ATMOS) results are in good agreement. Examples of pressure versus latitude cross sections and a global orthographic projection for the September 21 to October 15, 1992, period show the utility of CH4, HF, and H2O as tracers, the occurrence of dehydration in the Antarctic lower stratosphere, the presence of the water vapor hygropause in the tropics, evidence of Antarctic air in the tropics, the influence of Hadley tropical upwelling, and the first global distribution of HCl, HF, and NO throughout the stratosphere. Nitric oxide measurements extend through the lower thermosphere.

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