Articles | Volume 26, issue 5
28 May 2008
 | 28 May 2008

On the observed changes in upper stratospheric and mesospheric temperatures from UARS HALOE

E. Remsberg

Abstract. Temperature versus pressure or T(p) time series from the Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) have been extended and re-analyzed for the period of 1991–2005 and for the upper stratosphere and mesosphere in 10-degree wide latitude zones from 60 S to 60 N. Even though sampling from a solar occultation experiment is somewhat limited, it is shown to be quite adequate for developing both the seasonal and longer-term variations in T(p). Multiple linear regression (MLR) techniques were used in the re-analyses for the seasonal and the significant interannual, solar cycle (SC-like or decadal-scale), and linear trend terms. Plots of the amplitudes and phases for the interannual (QBO and subbiennial) terms are provided. A simple SC-like term of 11-yr period was fitted to the time series residuals after accounting for the seasonal and interannual terms. Highly significant SC-like responses were found for both the upper mesosphere and the upper stratosphere. The phases of these SC-like terms were checked for their continuity with latitude and pressure-altitude; the larger amplitude responses are directly in-phase with that of standard proxies for the solar flux variations. The analyzed, max minus min, responses at low latitudes are of order 0.5 to 1 K, while at middle latitudes they are as large as 3 K in the upper mesosphere. Highly significant, linear cooling trends were found at middle latitudes of the middle to upper mesosphere (−1.5 to −2.0 K/decade), at tropical latitudes of the lower mesosphere (about −0.5 K/decade), and at 2 hPa (of order −1 K/decade). Both the diagnosed solar cycle responses and trends from HALOE for the mid to upper mesosphere at middle latitudes are larger than simulated with most models, perhaps an indication of decadal-scale dynamical forcings that are not being simulated so well.