Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 15453-15494, 2007
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Long-term trends of the concentration of the minor constituents in the mesosphere – a model study
M. Grygalashvyly1, G. R. Sonnemann1,2, and P. Hartogh2
1Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University Rostock in Kühlungsborn, Schloss-Str. 6, 18225 Ostseebad Kühlungsborn, Germany
2Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany

Abstract. We investigate the influence of the rising concentrations of methane, dinitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial era upon the chemistry of the mesosphere. We use for calculations our global 3D-model COMMA-IAP designed for the exploration of the MLT-region and particularly the extended mesopause region. In order to get approximated data of the solar Lyman-α flux back to the pre-industrial time, we derived a quadratic fit using the sunspot number available since 1749 as the only solar proxy for the Lyman-α flux before 1947. The Lyman-α flux values are employed to determine the water vapor dissociation rate. The water vapor trend analysis utilizes estimated methane trends since the pre-industrial era. An unsolved problem for the model calculations consists of the water vapor mixing ratio at the hygropause during the time range of trend calculation. We assume that the hygropause was dryer at the pre-industrial time than currently. As a consequence of the methane oxidation, the middle atmosphere became more humid according to the rising methane concentration, but depending on height and with a small time delay of few years. The solar influence on the water vapor mixing ratio is insignificant below about 80 km within summery high latitudes, but it becomes increasingly more important above this altitude. The growing water vapor concentration increases the hydrogen radical concentration and reduces the mesospheric ozone. A second region of stronger ozone decrease is located in the vicinity of the stratopause. Increasing CO2 concentration enhances slightly the concentration of CO in the mesosphere, but its influence upon the chemistry is small and its main effect is connected with a cooling of the upper atmosphere. We discuss the trends particularly in view of the impact on the NLC region.

Citation: Grygalashvyly, M., Sonnemann, G. R., and Hartogh, P.: Long-term trends of the concentration of the minor constituents in the mesosphere – a model study, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 15453-15494, doi:10.5194/acpd-7-15453-2007, 2007.
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