17 Aug 2022
17 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Hydroxyl airglow observations for investigating atmospheric dynamics: results and challenges

Sabine Wüst1, Michael Bittner1,2, Patrick J. Espy3, W. John R. French4, and Frank J. Mulligan5 Sabine Wüst et al.
  • 1Erdbeobachtungszentrum, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany
  • 2Institut für Physik, Universität Augsburg, 86159 Augsburg, Germany
  • 3Department of Physics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • 4Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Hwy, Kingston, Tasmania, 7050, Australia
  • 5Department of Experimental Physics, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Abstract. Measurements of hydroxyl (OH*) airglow intensity are a straightforward and cost-efficient method which allows information to be derived about the climate and dynamics of the upper mesosphere / lower thermosphere (UMLT) on different spatiotemporal scales during darkness.

Today, instrument components can be bought “off-the-shelf” and developments in detector technology allows operation without cooling or at least without liquid nitrogen cooling, which is difficult to automate. This makes instruments compact and suitable for automated operation.

Here, we provide an overview of the scientific results regarding atmospheric dynamics and relying on long-term ground-based OH*-airglow measurements or airglow measurements using a network of ground-based instruments. It includes further results from global or nearly-global satellite-based OH*-airglow measurements. Additionally, the results from the very few available airborne case studies using OH*-airglow instruments are summarised. Scientific and technical challenges for the next few years are described.

Sabine Wüst et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-528', Christian von Savigny, 19 Aug 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-528', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Sep 2022

Sabine Wüst et al.

Sabine Wüst et al.


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Short summary
Ground-based OH* airglow measurements have been carried out for almost 100 years. Advanced detector technology has greatly simplified the automatic operation of OH* airglow observing instruments and significantly improved the temporal and/or spatial resolution. Studies based on long-term measurements or including a network of instruments are reviewed especially in the context of deriving gravity wave properties. Scientific and technical challenges for the next few years are described.