Articles | Volume 16, issue 23
Research article
06 Dec 2016
Research article |  | 06 Dec 2016

Long-term dynamics of OH * temperatures over central Europe: trends and solar correlations

Christoph Kalicinsky, Peter Knieling, Ralf Koppmann, Dirk Offermann, Wolfgang Steinbrecht, and Johannes Wintel

Abstract. We present the analysis of annual average OH* temperatures in the mesopause region derived from measurements of the Ground-based Infrared P-branch Spectrometer (GRIPS) at Wuppertal (51° N, 7° E) in the time interval 1988 to 2015. The new study uses a temperature time series which is 7 years longer than that used for the latest analysis regarding the long-term dynamics. This additional observation time leads to a change in characterisation of the observed long-term dynamics.

We perform a multiple linear regression using the solar radio flux F10.7 cm (11-year cycle of solar activity) and time to describe the temperature evolution. The analysis leads to a linear trend of (−0.089 ± 0.055) K year−1 and a sensitivity to the solar activity of (4.2 ± 0.9) K (100 SFU)−1 (r2 of fit 0.6). However, one linear trend in combination with the 11-year solar cycle is not sufficient to explain all observed long-term dynamics. In fact, we find a clear trend break in the temperature time series in the middle of 2008. Before this break point there is an explicit negative linear trend of (−0.24 ± 0.07) K year−1, and after 2008 the linear trend turns positive with a value of (0.64 ± 0.33) K year−1. This apparent trend break can also be described using a long periodic oscillation. One possibility is to use the 22-year solar cycle that describes the reversal of the solar magnetic field (Hale cycle). A multiple linear regression using the solar radio flux and the solar polar magnetic field as parameters leads to the regression coefficients Csolar = (5.0 ± 0.7) K (100 SFU)−1 and Chale = (1.8 ±  0.5) K (100 µT)−1 (r2 = 0.71). The second way of describing the OH* temperature time series is to use the solar radio flux and an oscillation. A least-square fit leads to a sensitivity to the solar activity of (4.1 ± 0.8) K (100 SFU)−1, a period P  =  (24.8 ± 3.3) years, and an amplitude Csin  =  (1.95 ± 0.44) K of the oscillation (r2 = 0.78). The most important finding here is that using this description an additional linear trend is no longer needed. Moreover, with the knowledge of this 25-year oscillation the linear trends derived in this and in a former study of the Wuppertal data series can be reproduced by just fitting a line to the corresponding part (time interval) of the oscillation. This actually means that, depending on the analysed time interval, completely different linear trends with respect to magnitude and sign can be observed. This fact is of essential importance for any comparison between different observations and model simulations.

Short summary
The analysis of temperatures in the mesopause region between 1988 to 2015 shows, besides the known correlation with the 11-year solar activity cycle, a trend reversal in 2008 that can be described by a long-term oscillation. Understanding such long periodic oscillations in the atmosphere is of prime importance for climate modelling and predictions of future trends.
Final-revised paper