Temperature variability over the tropical middle atmosphere
Abstract. A study on the variability of temperature in the tropical middle atmosphere over Thumba (8 32' N, 76 52' E), located at the southern part of India, has been carried out based on rocket observations for a period of 20 years, extending from 1970 to 1990. The rocketsonde-derived mean temperatures over Thumba are corrected prior to 1978 and then compared with the middle atmospheric reference model developed from satellite observations and Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME) satellite data. Temperature variability at every 1 km interval in the 25-75 km region was analysed. The tropical stratosphere is found to be highly stable, whereas considerable variability is noted in the middle mesosphere. The effect of seasonal cycle is least in the lower stratosphere. Annual and semi-annual oscillations in temperature are the primary oscillations in the tropical middle atmosphere. Annual temperature oscillations are dominant in the mesosphere and semi-annual oscillations are strong in the stratosphere. The stratopause region is noted to be the part of the middle atmosphere least sensitive to the changes in solar activity and long-term variability.