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Polarized thermal microwave emission from oxygen in the mesosphere


  • P. W. Rosenkranz,

  • D. H. Staelin


The thermally emitted microwave spectrum of the terrestrial atmosphere, viewed from above, is calculated for frequencies in the vicinity of a Zeeman-split oxygen line. Previously omitted phase terms are included; their effect on brightness temperature can be as large as 1.5 K for linearly polarized measurements. For the purpose of using oxygen lines as a probe of the atmospheric temperature profile, circular polarization of the radiometer would yield better vertical resolution. A double-sideband radiometer measuring two lines would include a polarizer that reverses the handedness of polarization between the upper and lower sidebands. With channels covering frequencies from −4 to +4 MHz from the center of the 7+ or 9+ lines a satellite radiometer could measure the temperature profile for altitudes from 43 to 70 km.

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