Variations in the chemical composition of the atmosphere from satellite measurements and their relation to fluxes of energetic particles of cosmic origin (Review)

Research paper by A. I. Repnev, A. A. Krivolutsky

Indexed on: 19 Oct '10Published on: 19 Oct '10Published in: Izvestiya Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics


New information about the chemical composition of the stratosphere and mesosphere is reviewed. This information was obtained in different seasons in both hemispheres with the use of the MIPAS (IR limb sounder), Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography (SCIAMACHY; UV-visible and near-IR nadir and limb viewer), and Global Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (GOMOS) instruments installed on the European Envisat satellite launched in 2002. Measurements with the MIPAS instrument make it possible to retrieve information about the composition of the nighttime atmosphere. It should be noted that several powerful solar proton events (SPEs) occurred on the Sun in the period of satellite measurements. As is well known, the ionization of the polar atmosphere by SPEs is responsible for the intense interaction between ionic and neutral constituents below 100 km, which leads to the additional formation of nitrogen oxides and OH radicals destroying the ozone. Therefore, observations of the composition of the middle atmosphere in these periods are of great interest, because such situations serve as a unique test which makes it possible to check our knowledge not only about photochemical processes in the atmosphere but also about its interaction with cosmic plasma. The results of a comparison of model calculations with newly obtained data on the chemical composition, including those for SPE periods, are presented.