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Improvements in the profiles and distributions of nitric acid and nitrogen dioxide with the LIMS version 6 dataset

by E Remsberg, M Natarajan, B T Marshall, L L Gordley, R E Thompson, G Lingenfelser
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()


The quality of the Nimbus 7 Limb Infrared Monitor of the Stratosphere (LIMS) nitric acid (HNO(3)) and nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) profiles and distributions of 1978/1979 are described after their processing with an updated, Version 6 (V6) algorithm and subsequent archival in 2002. Estimates of the precision and accuracy of both of those species are developed and provided herein. The character of the V6 HNO(3) profiles is relatively unchanged from that of the earlier LIMS Version 5 (V5) profiles, except in the upper stratosphere where the interfering effects of CO(2) are accounted for better with V6. The accuracy of the retrieved V6 NO(2) is also significantly better in the middle and upper stratosphere, due to improvements in its spectral line parameters and in the reduced biases for the accompanying V6 temperature and water vapor profiles. As a result of these important updates, there is better agreement with theoretical calculations for profiles of the HNO(3)/NO(2) ratio, day-to-night NO(2) ratio, and with estimates of the production of NO(2) in the mesosphere and its descent to the upper stratosphere during polar night. In particular, the findings for middle and upper stratospheric NO(2) should also be more compatible with those obtained from more recent satellite sensors because the effects of the spin-splitting of the NO(2) lines are accounted for now with the LIMS V6 algorithm. The improved precisions and more frequent retrievals of the LIMS profiles along their orbit tracks provide for better continuity and detail in map analyses of these two species on pressure surfaces. It is judged that the chemical effects of the oxides of nitrogen on ozone can be studied quantitatively throughout the stratosphere with the LIMS V6 data.

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