Articles | Volume 34, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 34, 29–40, 2016
Ann. Geophys., 34, 29–40, 2016

Regular paper 15 Jan 2016

Regular paper | 15 Jan 2016

Ozone and temperature decadal responses to solar variability in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere, based on measurements from SABER on TIMED

F. T. Huang1,*, H. G. Mayr2, J. M. Russell III3, and M. G. Mlynczak4 F. T. Huang et al.
  • 1University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD 21250, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 3Hampton University, Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Hampton, VA 23668, USA
  • 4NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681, USA
  • *retired

Abstract. We have derived ozone and temperature responses to solar variability over a solar cycle, from June 2002 through June 2014, 50 to 100 km, 48° S to 48° N, based on data from the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument on the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere-Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite. Results with this extent of coverage in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere have not been available previously. A multiple regression is applied to obtain responses as a function of the solar 10.7 cm flux (solar flux units, sfu). Positive responses mean that they are larger at solar maximum than at solar minimum of the solar cycle. From  ∼  80 to 100 km, both ozone and temperature responses are positive for all latitudes and are larger than those at lower altitudes. From  ∼  80 to 100 km, ozone responses can exceed 10 % (100 sfu)−1, and temperature responses can approach 4 °K. From 50 to  ∼  80 km, the ozone responses at low latitudes ( ∼  ±35°) are mostly negative and can approach  ∼  negative 3 % (100 sfu)−1. However, they are mostly positive at midlatitudes in this region and can approach  ∼  2 % (100 sfu)−1. In contrast to ozone, from  ∼  50 to 80 km, the temperature responses at low latitudes remain positive, with values up to  ∼  2.5 K (100 sfu)−1, but are weakly negative at midlatitudes. Consequently, there is a systematic and robust relation between the phases of the ozone and temperature responses. They are positively correlated (in phase) from  ∼  80 to 100 km for all latitudes and negatively correlated (out of phase) from  ∼  50 to 80 km, also for all latitudes. The negative correlation from 50 to 80 km is maintained even though the ozone and temperature responses can change signs as a function of altitude and latitude, because the corresponding temperature responses change signs in step with ozone. This is consistent with the idea that dynamics have the larger influence between  ∼  80 and 100 km, while photochemistry is more in control from  ∼  50 to 75 km. The correlation coefficients between the solar 10.7 cm flux and the ozone and temperature themselves from 2012 to 2014 are positive (negative) in regions where the responses are positive (negative). This supports our results since the correlations are independent of the multiple regression used to derive the responses. We also compare with previous results.

Short summary
Satellite data over the 11-year solar cycle from 2002 to 2014 show that the response of atmospheric temperatures are in phase with the sun's activity from 50 to 100 km. The ozone variations are also in phase with those of temperature between ~ 80 and 100 km but are mostly out of phase between ~ 50 and 80 km. This is consistent with the idea that dynamics are more in control from 80 to 100 km, while ozone photochemistry is more in control from ~ 50 to 80 km.