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Direct measurements of atomic oxygen in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere using terahertz heterodyne spectroscopy

Richter, Heiko and Buchbender, C. and Güsten, R. and Higgins, R. D. and Klein, Bernd and Stutzki, J. and Wiesemeyer, H. and Hübers, H.-W. (2021) Direct measurements of atomic oxygen in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere using terahertz heterodyne spectroscopy. Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s43247-020-00084-5. ISSN 2041-1723.

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Official URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-020-00084-5

Abstract

Atomic oxygen is a main component of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere of the Earth, where it governs photochemistry and energy balance and is a tracer for dynamical motions. However, its concentration is extremely difficult to measure with remote sensing techniques since atomic oxygen has few optically active transitions. Current indirect methods involve photochemical models and the results are not always in agreement, particularly when obtained with different instruments. Here we present direct measurements—independent of photochemical models—of the ground state 3P1 → 3P2 fine-structure transition of atomic oxygen at 4.7448 THz using the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) on board the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). We find that our measurements of the concentration of atomic oxygen agree well with atmospheric models informed by satellite observations. We suggest that this direct observation method may be more accurate than existing indirect methods that rely on photochemical models.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/140672/
Document Type:Article
Title:Direct measurements of atomic oxygen in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere using terahertz heterodyne spectroscopy
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Richter, HeikoHeiko.Richter (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3639-6997
Buchbender, C.I. Physikalisches Institut der Universität zu KölnUNSPECIFIED
Güsten, R.Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Higgins, R. D.I. Physikalisches Institut der Universität zu KölnUNSPECIFIED
Klein, BerndMax-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, BonnUNSPECIFIED
Stutzki, J.KOSMA, I.Physikalisches Institut der Universität Köln, Köln, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Wiesemeyer, H.Max- Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, BonnUNSPECIFIED
Hübers, H.-W.DLR Köln, Heinz-Wilhelm.Huebers (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:26 January 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Nature Communications
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1038/s43247-020-00084-5
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Series Name:Nature Communications Earth & Environment
ISSN:2041-1723
Status:Published
Keywords:atomic oxygen, terahertz, heterodyne spectroscopy, MLT, Earth atmosphere
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Terahertz spectrometer for atomic oxygen in the mesosphere/thermosphere
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Optical Sensor Systems > Terahertz and Laser Spectroscopy
Deposited By: Richter, Dr.rer.nat. Heiko
Deposited On:09 Feb 2021 10:07
Last Modified:09 Feb 2021 10:07

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