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Observation and Modeling of OH Airglow Temperature and Intensity Perturbations by Mesospheric Gravity Waves

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Atmospheric gravity waves at a broad range of temporal and spatial scales are frequently observed in MLT airglow imaging experiments. Airglow data provide significant insight into gravity wave propagation, directionality, and seasonality, and allow estimations of wave fluxes [e.g., Swenson et al., JGR, 104(D6), 1999]. The USU / Cedar Mesospheric Temperature Mapper (MTM) is a specialized CCD airglow imaging system, which was operated at Maui MALT from November 2001 to December 2006. It captures OH(6,2) and O2(0,1) emissions intensities, filtered to allow determination of airglow rotational temperature [Meriwether, MAP Handb., 13, 1984]. The MTM has been used previously to assess zenith temperatures, showing close agreement with lidar temperature data [Zhao et al., JGR., 110, D09S07, 2005], in addition to two-dimensional structure of intensity and temperature perturbations associated with small-scale gravity waves [Taylor et al., Rev. Bras, Geof., 25, 2007].

Here we investigate the horizontal structure of relatively small-scale gravity wave perturbations captured by the MTM, as both intensity and rotational temperature. Using a photochemical-dynamical model for the OH(6,2) emission, coupled with a two-dimensional numerical model for gravity wave dynamics [Snively and Pasko, JGR, 113 A06303, 2008], we construct case studies to allow direct comparisons with observed data. The Krassovsky ratios and integrated cancellation effects [e.g., Swenson and Gardner, JGR, 103(D6), 1998] of the modeled and observed airglow signatures are investigated and compared. Limitations of the model and data are discussed, along with implications for gravity wave momentum flux calculations.


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