Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Sedlak, Rene; Hannawald, Patrick; Schmidt, Carsten; Wüst, Sabine; Bittner, Michael (2016)
Publisher: Copernicus Publications
Languages: German
Types: Article
Subjects: TA170-171, Earthwork. Foundations, Atmosphäre, Environmental engineering, TA715-787
A new version of the Fast Airglow Imager (FAIM) for the detection of atmospheric waves in the OH airglow layer has been set up at the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at Oberpfaffenhofen (48.09° N, 11.28° E), Germany. The spatial resolution of the instrument is 17 m pixel−1 in zenith direction with a field of view (FOV) of 11.1 km  ×  9.0 km at the OH layer height of ca. 87 km. Since November 2015, the system has been in operation in two different setups (zenith angles 46 and 0°) with a temporal resolution of 2.5 to 2.8 s.

In a first case study we present observations of two small wave-like features that might be attributed to gravity wave instabilities. In order to spectrally analyse harmonic structures even on small spatial scales down to 550 m horizontal wavelength, we made use of the maximum entropy method (MEM) since this method exhibits an excellent wavelength resolution. MEM further allows analysing relatively short data series, which considerably helps to reduce problems such as stationarity of the underlying data series from a statistical point of view. We present an observation of the subsequent decay of well-organized wave fronts into eddies, which we tentatively interpret in terms of an indication for the onset of turbulence.

Another remarkable event which demonstrates the technical capabilities of the instrument was observed during the night of 4–5 April 2016. It reveals the disintegration of a rather homogenous brightness variation into several filaments moving in different directions and with different speeds. It resembles the formation of a vortex with a horizontal axis of rotation likely related to a vertical wind shear. This case shows a notable similarity to what is expected from theoretical modelling of Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities (KHIs).

The comparatively high spatial resolution of the presented new version of the FAIM provides new insights into the structure of atmospheric wave instability and turbulent processes. Infrared imaging of wave dynamics on the sub-kilometre scale in the airglow layer supports the findings of theoretical simulations and modellings.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Adams, G. W., Peterson, A. W., Brosnahan, J. W., and Neuschaefer, J. W.: Radar and optical observations of mesospheric wave activity during the lunar eclipse of 6 July 1982, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys., 50, 11-20, 1988.
    • Andreassen, Ø., Wasberg, C. E., Fritts, D. C., and Isler, J. R.: Gravity wave breaking in two and three dimensions 1. Model description and comparison of two-dimensional evolutions, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 8095-8108, 1994.
    • Baker, D. J. and Stair, A. T.: Rocket Measurements of the Altitude Distributions of the Hydroxyl Airglow, Phys. Scripta, 37, 611- 622, 1988.
    • Bates, D. R. and Nicolet, M.: Atmospheric Hydrogen, Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac., 62, 106-110, 1950.
    • Bittner, M., Offermann, D., Bugaeva, I. V., Kokin, G. A., Koshelkov, J. P., Krivolutsky, A., Tarasenko, D. A., Gil-Ojeda, M., Hauchecorne, A., Lübken, F.-J., de la Morena, B. A., Mourier, A., Nakane, H., Oyama, K. I., Schmidlin, F. J., Soule, I., Thomas, L., and Tsuda, T.: Long period/large scale oscillations of temperature during the DYANA campaign, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys., 56, 1675-1700, 1994.
    • Browning, K. A.: Structure of the atmosphere in the vicinity of large-amplitude Kelvin-Helmholtz billows, Q. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 97, 283-299, 1971.
    • Fritts, D. C. and Alexander, M. J.: Gravity wave dynamics and effects in the middle atmosphere, Rev. Geophys., 41, 1003, doi:10.1029/2001RG000106, 2003.
    • Fritts, D. C., Isler, J. R., and Andreassen, Ø.: Gravity wave breaking in two and three dimensions 2. Three-dimensional evolution and instability structure, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 8109-8123, 1994.
    • Fritts, D. C., Garten, J. F., and Andreassen, Ø.: Wave breaking and transition to turbulence in stratified shear flows, J. Atmos. Sci., 53, 1057-1085, 1996.
    • Fritts, D. C., Wan, K., Werne, J., Lund, T., and Hecht, J. H.: Modeling the implications of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilty dynamics for airglow observations, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 119, 8858- 8871, doi:10.1002/2014JD021737, 2014.
    • Gardner, C. S., Zhao, Y., and Liu, A. Z.: Atmospheric stability and gravity wave dissipation in the mesopause region, J. Atmos. Sol.- Terr. Phy., 64, 923-929, 2002.
    • Hannawald, P., Schmidt, C., Wüst, S., and Bittner, M.: A fast SWIR imager for observations of transient features in OH airglow, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 1461-1472, doi:10.5194/amt-9-1461-2016, 2016.
    • Hecht, J. H.: Instability layers and airglow imaging, Rev. Geophys., 42, RG1001, doi:10.1029/2003RG000131, 2004.
    • Hecht, J. H., Walterscheid, R. L., Fritts, D. C., Isler, J. R., Senft, D. C., Gardner, C. S., and Franke, S. J.: Wave breaking signatures in OH airglow and sodium densities and temperatures 1. Airglow imaging, Na lidar, and MF radar observations, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 6655-6668, 1997.
    • Hecht, J. H., Wan, K., Gelinas, L. J., Fritts, D. C., Walterscheid, R. L., Rudy, R. J., Liu, A. Z., Franke, S. J., Vargas, F. A., Pautet, P. D., Taylor, M. J., and Swenson, G. R.: The life cycle of instability features measured from the Andes Lidar Observatory over Cerro Pachon on 24 March 2012, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, 8872- 8898, 2014.
    • Herse, M., Thuillier, G., Camman, G., Chevassut, J.-L., and Fehrenbach, M.: Ground based instrument for observing near IR nightglow inhomogeneities at zenith and throughout the sky, Appl. Optics, 28, 3944-3949, doi:10.1364/AO.28.003944, 1989.
    • Hocking, W. K.: Measurement of turbulent energy dissipation rates in the middle atmosphere by radar techniques: A review, Radio Sci., 20, 1403-1422, 1985.
    • Jaynes, E. T.: New engineering applications of information theory, Proceedings of the first symposium on engineering applications of random function theory and probability, edited by: Bogdanoff, J. L. and Kozin, F., John Wiley, New York, 1963.
    • Klaassen, G. P. and Peltier, W. R.: The influence of stratification on secondary instability in free shear layers, J. Fluid Mech., 227, 71-106, 1991.
    • Lübken, F.-J., von Zahn, U., Thrane, E. V., Blix, T., Kokin, G. A., and Pachomov, S. V.: In situ measurements of turbulent energy dissipation rates and eddy diffusion coefficients during MAP/WINE, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys., 49, 763-775, 1987.
    • Moreels, G., Clairemidi, J., Faivre, M., Mougin-Sisini, D., Kouahla, M. N., Meriwether, J. W., Lehmacher, G. A., Vidal, E., and Veliz, O.: Stereoscopic imaging of the hydroxyl emissive layer at low latitudes, Planet. Space Sci., 56, 1467-1479, 2008.
    • Nakamura, T., Higashikawa, A., Tsuda, T., and Matsuhita, Y.: Seasonal variations of gravity wave structures in OH airglow with a CCD imager at Shigaraki, Earth Planets Space, 51, 897-906, 1999.
    • Peterson, A. W.: Airglow events visible to the naked eye, Appl. Optics, 18, 3390-3393, doi:10.1364/AO.18.003390, 1979.
    • Peterson, A. W. and Kieffaber, L. M.: Infrared Photography of OH Airglow Structures, Nature, 242, 321-322, 1973.
    • Smith, S., Baumgardner, J., and Mendillo, M.: Evidence of mesospheric gravity-waves generated by orographic forcing in the troposphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, doi:10.1029/2008GL036936, 2009.
    • Taylor, M. J. and Hapgood, M. A.: On the origin of ripple-type wave structure in the OH nightglow emission, Planet. Space Sci., 38, 1421-1430, 1990.
    • Taylor, M. J., Pendleton Jr., W. R., Clark, S., Takahashi, H., Gobbi, D., and Goldberg, R. A.: Image measurements of short-period gravity waves at equatorial latitudes, J. Geogr. Res., 102, 26283- 26299, doi:10.1029/96JD03515, 1997.
    • Ulrych, T. J. and Bishop, T. N.: Maximum entropy spectral analysis and autoregressive decomposition, Rev. Geophys. Space Phys., 13, 183-200, 1975.
    • van Rhijn, P. J.: On the brightness of the sky at night and the total amount of starlight, Publications of the Astronomical Laboratory at Groningen, 31, 1-83, 1921.
    • von Savigny, C.: Variability of OH(3-1) emission altitude from 2003 to 2011: Long-term stability and universality of the emission rate-altitude relationship, J. Atmos. Sol.-Terr. Phy., 127, 120- 128, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2015.02.001, 2015.
    • Wüst, S. and Bittner, M.: Non-linear resonant wave-wave interaction (triad): Case studies based on rocket data and first application to satellite data, J. Atmos. Sol.-Terr. Phy., 68, 959-976, 2006.
    • Yamada, Y., Fukunishi, H., Nakamura, T., and Tsuda, T.: Breaking of small-scale gravity waves and transition to turbulence observed in OH airglow, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 2153-2156, 2001.
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article