Articles | Volume 24, issue 8
13 Sep 2006
 | 13 Sep 2006

Stratospheric and mesospheric temperature variations for the quasi-biennial and semiannual (QBO and SAO) oscillations based on measurements from SABER (TIMED) and MLS (UARS)

F. T. Huang, H. G. Mayr, C. A. Reber, J. M. Russell, M Mlynczak, and J. G. Mengel

Abstract. We present the zonal mean temperature variations for the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and the semiannual oscillation (SAO) based on data from SABER on the TIMED spacecraft (years 2002 to 2004) and from MLS on the UARS mission (1992 to 1994). The SABER measurements provide the rare opportunity to analyze data from one instrument over a wide altitude range (15 to 95 km), while MLS data were taken in the 16 to 55 km altitude range a decade earlier. The results are presented for latitudes from 48° S to 48° N. New results are obtained for the QBO, especially in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere, and at mid-latitudes. At Equatorial latitudes, the QBO amplitudes show local peaks, albeit small, that occur at different altitudes. From about 20 to 40 km, and within about 15° of the Equator, the amplitudes can approach 3.5° K for the stratospheric QBO (SQBO). For the mesospheric QBO (MQBO), we find peaks near 70 km, with temperature amplitudes reaching 3.5° K, and near 85 km, the amplitudes approach 2.5° K. Morphologically, the amplitude and phase variations derived from the SABER and MLS measurements are in qualitative agreement. As a function of latitude, the QBO amplitudes tend to peak at the Equator but then increase again pole-ward of about 15° to 20°. The phase progression with altitude varies more gradually at the Equator than at mid-latitudes. Many of the SAO results presented are also new, in part because measurements were not previously available or were more limited in nature. At lower altitudes near 45 km, within about 15° of the Equator, the temperature amplitudes for the stratospheric SAO (SSAO) reveal a local maximum of about 5° K. At higher altitudes close to the Equator, our results show separate peaks of about 7° K near 75 and 90 km for the mesospheric SAO (MSAO). In the SAO results, significant inter-annual differences are evident, with the amplitudes being largest in 2002 relative to 2003 and 2004. As in the case for the QBO, the SAO temperature amplitudes go through minima away from the Equator, and then increase towards mid latitudes, especially at altitudes above 55 km. We compare our findings with previously published empirical results, and with corresponding results from the numerical spectral model (NSM). Although not a focus of this study, we also show results for the inter-annual variations (which appear to be generated at least in part by the QBO) of the migrating diurnal tide. In the upper mesosphere, their amplitudes can approach 20° K, and they are derived jointly with the zonal-mean components.