Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/acp-2016-661
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
18 Oct 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Measuring FeO variation using astronomical spectroscopic observations
Stefanie Unterguggenberger1, Stefan Noll1, Wuhu Feng2,3, John M. C. Plane2, Wolfgang Kausch4,1, Stefan Kimeswenger5,1, Amy Jones6,1, and Sabine Moehler7 1Institut für Astro- und Teilchenpyhsik, Universität Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 25/8, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leed LS 9JT, United Kingdom
3National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leed LS 9JT, United Kingdom
4Institute for Astrophysics, University of Vienna, Türkenschanzstr. 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
5Universidad Católica del Norte, Avenida Angamos 0610, Antofagasta, Chile
6Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85748 Garching, Germany
7European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
Abstract. Airglow emission lines of OH, O2, O and Na are commonly used to probe the MLT (mesosphere/lower thermosphere) region of the atmosphere. Furthermore, molecules like electronically excited NO, NiO and FeO emit a (pseudo-) continuum. These continua are harder to investigate than atomic emission lines. So far, limb-sounding from space and a small number of ground-based low-to-medium resolution spectra have been used to measure FeO emission in the MLT. In this study the medium-to-high resolution echelle spectrograph X-shooter at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Chilean Atacama desert (24°37' S, 70°24' W, 2635 m) is used to study the FeO pseudo-continuum in the range from 0.5 to 0.72 μm based on 3662 spectra. Variations of the FeO spectrum itself, as well as the diurnal and seasonal behaviour of the FeO and Na emission intensities are reported. These airglow emissions are linked by their common origin, meteoric ablation, and share O3 as a common reactant. Major differences are found in the main emission peak of the FeO airglow spectrum between 0.58 and 0.61 μm, compared with a theoretical spectrum. The FeO and Na airglow intensities exhibit a similar nocturnal variation, and a semi-annual seasonal variation with equinoctial maxima. This is satisfactorily reproduced by a whole atmosphere chemistry climate model, if the quantum yields for the reactions of Fe and Na with O3 are 13 ± 3 % and 11 ± 2 %, respectively. However, a comparison between the modelled O3 in the upper mesosphere and measurements of O3 made with the SABER satellite instrument suggests that these quantum yields may be a factor of ∼ 2 smaller.

Citation: Unterguggenberger, S., Noll, S., Feng, W., Plane, J. M. C., Kausch, W., Kimeswenger, S., Jones, A., and Moehler, S.: Measuring FeO variation using astronomical spectroscopic observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-661, in review, 2016.
Stefanie Unterguggenberger et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
 
RC1: 'Reviewer comments', Christian von Savigny, 06 Nov 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'Response to Referee #1', Stefanie Unterguggenberger, 05 Mar 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
RC2: 'Referee comment', Timo P. Viehl, 14 Feb 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC2: 'Response to Referee #2', Stefanie Unterguggenberger, 05 Mar 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
Stefanie Unterguggenberger et al.
Stefanie Unterguggenberger et al.

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Short summary
This study focuses on the analysis of medium-resolution astronomical spectra to measure the airglow (pseudo-) continuum emission of FeO in the optical regime. Compared to OH or Na emission this emission is difficult to detect and measure. Using 3.5 years of data we found annual and semi-annual variations of the FeO emission. Furthermore, we used WACCM to determine the quantum yield of the FeO-producing Fe + O3 reaction in the atmosphere, which was not successfully done before.
This study focuses on the analysis of medium-resolution astronomical spectra to measure the...
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