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Measurements of metastable helium in Earth’s atmosphere by resonance lidar

Kaifler, Bernd and Geach, Christopher Peter and Büdenbender, Hans Christian and Mezger, Andreas and Rapp, Markus (2022) Measurements of metastable helium in Earth’s atmosphere by resonance lidar. Nature Communications, 13 (1). Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33751-6. ISSN 2041-1723.

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-33751-6


Monitoring and predicting space weather activity is increasingly important given society’s growing reliance on space-based infrastructure but is hampered by a lack of observational data. Airglow at 1083 nm from metastable helium He(23S) in the thermosphere has long been a target for remote-sensing instruments seeking to fill that gap; however, passive measurements of He(23S) fluorescence are limited by low brightness, and interpretation of these observations is complicated by the > 500 km depth of the He(23S) layer. Here, we demonstrate a lidar instrument that is able to stimulate and detect He(23S) fluorescence, and we present measured profiles of He(23S) density. These measurements provide crucial validation to space weather models, support predictions of peak number density ( ~ 1 cm−3) and the dependence of density on altitude, solar zenith angle, and season, and extend by a factor of 4 the maximum probed altitude range by an atmospheric profiling lidar. These measurements open the door for the development of more sophisticated lidars: by applying well-established spectroscopic lidar techniques, one can measure the Doppler shift and broadening of the He(23S) line, thereby retrieving profiles of neutral wind speed and temperature, opening a window for studying space weather phenomena.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/188973/
Document Type:Article
Title:Measurements of metastable helium in Earth’s atmosphere by resonance lidar
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Kaifler, BerndDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5891-242XUNSPECIFIED
Büdenbender, Hans ChristianDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8778-3172UNSPECIFIED
Rapp, MarkusDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1508-5900UNSPECIFIED
Date:13 October 2022
Journal or Publication Title:Nature Communications
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Keywords:lidar, helium, thermosphere, space weather
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 - Middle Atmosphere
Location: Neustrelitz , Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Lidar
Institute for Solar-Terrestrial Physics > Solar-Terrestrial Coupling Processes
Deposited By: Kaifler, Dr. Natalie
Deposited On:14 Oct 2022 09:52
Last Modified:14 Oct 2022 09:52

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