First global observations of the mesospheric potassium layer [article]

E.C.M. Dawkins, J.M.C. Plane, M.P. Chipperfield, W. Feng, J. Gumbel, J. Hedin, J. Höffner, J.S. Friedman, University, My
2020
Metal species, produced by meteoric ablation, act as useful tracers of upper atmosphere dynamics and chemistry. Of these meteoric metals, K is an enigma: at extratropical latitudes, limited available lidar data show that the K layer displays a semiannual seasonal variability, rather than the annual pattern seen in other metals such as Na and Fe. Here we present the first near-global K retrieval, where K atom number density profiles are derived from dayglow measurements made by the Optical
more » ... y the Optical Spectrograph and Infrared Imager System spectrometer on board the Odin satellite. This robust retrieval produces density profiles with typical layer peak errors of ±15% and a 2km vertical grid resolution. We demonstrate that these retrieved profiles compare well with available lidar data and show for the first time that the unusual semiannual behavior is near-global in extent. This new data set has wider applications for improving understanding of the K chemistry and of related upper atmosphere processes. Key Points First quantitative retrieval of the terrestrial K layer from space The unusual semiannual behavior of K is near global in extent.
doi:10.34657/4453 fatcat:g476ha5ptjahbj3aply27svsae