Articles | Volume 27, issue 11
06 Nov 2009
 | 06 Nov 2009

Inferring hydroxyl layer peak heights from ground-based measurements of OH(6-2) band integrated emission rate at Longyearbyen (78° N, 16° E)

F. J. Mulligan, M. E. Dyrland, F. Sigernes, and C. S. Deehr

Abstract. Measurements of hydroxyl nightglow emissions over Longyearbyen (78° N, 16° E) recorded simultaneously by the SABER instrument onboard the TIMED satellite and a ground-based Ebert-Fastie spectrometer have been used to derive an empirical formula for the height of the OH layer as a function of the integrated emission rate (IER). Altitude profiles of the OH volume emission rate (VER) derived from SABER observations over a period of more than six years provided a relation between the height of the OH layer peak and the integrated emission rate following the procedure described by Liu and Shepherd (2006). An extended period of overlap of SABER and ground-based spectrometer measurements of OH(6-2) IER during the 2003–2004 winter season allowed us to express ground-based IER values in terms of their satellite equivalents. The combination of these two formulae provided a method for inferring an altitude of the OH emission layer over Longyearbyen from ground-based measurements alone. Such a method is required when SABER is in a southward looking yaw cycle. In the SABER data for the period 2002–2008, the peak altitude of the OH layer ranged from a minimum near 76 km to a maximum near 90 km. The uncertainty in the inferred altitude of the peak emission, which includes a contribution for atmospheric extinction, was estimated to be ±2.7 km and is comparable with the ±2.6 km value quoted for the nominal altitude (87 km) of the OH layer. Longer periods of overlap of satellite and ground-based measurements together with simultaneous on-site measurements of atmospheric extinction could reduce the uncertainty to approximately 2 km.