An Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper for high-latitude airglow studies

Pierre-Dominique Pautet, Utah State University
Michael J. Taylor, Utah State University
William R. Pendleton Jr.
Yucheng Zhao, Utah State University
Tao Yuan, Utah State University
R. Esplin, Utah State University
D. McLain, Utah State University


Over the past 60 years, ground-based remote sensing measurements of the Earth’s mesospheric temperature have been performed using the nighttime hydroxyl (OH) emission, which originates at an altitude of ∼87 km∼87 km. Several types of instruments have been employed to date: spectrometers, Fabry–Perot or Michelson interferometers, scanning-radiometers, and more recently temperature mappers. Most of them measure the mesospheric temperature in a few sample directions and/or with a limited temporal resolution, restricting their research capabilities to the investigation of larger-scale perturbations such as inertial waves, tides, or planetary waves. The Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper (AMTM) is a novel infrared digital imaging system that measures selected emission lines in the mesospheric OH (3,1) band (at ∼1.5 μm)∼1.5 μm) to create intensity and temperature maps of the mesosphere around 87 km. The data are obtained with an unprecedented spatial (∼0.5 km∼0.5 km) and temporal (typically 30″) resolution over a large 120° field of view, allowing detailed measurements of wave propagation and dissipation at the ∼87 km∼87 km level, even in the presence of strong aurora or under full moon conditions. This paper describes the AMTM characteristics, compares measured temperatures with values obtained by a collocated Na lidar instrument, and presents several examples of temperature maps and nightly keogram representations to illustrate the excellent capabilities of this new instrument.