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Solar Energy Deposition Rates in the Mesosphere Derived from Airglow Measurements: Implications for the Ozone Model Deficit ProblemWe derive rates of energy deposition in the mesosphere due to the absorption of solar ultraviolet radiation by ozone. The rates are derived directly from measurements of the 1.27-microns oxygen dayglow emission, independent of knowledge of the ozone abundance, the ozone absorption cross sections, and the ultraviolet solar irradiance in the ozone Hartley band. Fifty-six months of airglow data taken between 1982 and 1986 by the near-infrared spectrometer on the Solar-Mesosphere Explorer satellite are analyzed. The energy deposition rates exhibit altitude-dependent annual and semi-annual variations. We also find a positive correlation between temperatures and energy deposition rates near 90 km at low latitudes. This correlation is largely due to the semiannual oscillation in temperature and ozone and is consistent with model calculations. There is also a suggestion of possible tidal enhancement of this correlation based on recent theoretical and observational analyses. The airglow-derived rates of energy deposition are then compared with those computed by multidimensional numerical models. The observed and modeled deposition rates typically agree to within 20%. This agreement in energy deposition rates implies the same agreement exists between measured and modeled ozone volume mixing ratios in the mesosphere. Only in the upper mesosphere at midlatitudes during winter do we derive energy deposition rates (and hence ozone mixing ratios) consistently and significantly larger than the model calculations. This result is contrary to previous studies that have shown a large model deficit in the ozone abundance throughout the mesosphere. The climatology of solar energy deposition and heating presented in this paper is available to the community at the Middle Atmosphere Energy Budget Project web site at
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Mlynczak, Martin G. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA United States)
Garcia, Rolando R. (National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO United States)
Roble, Raymond G. (National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO United States)
Hagan, Maura (National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
July 16, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 105
Issue: D13
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Report/Patent Number
Paper 2000JD900222
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