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Analysis of selected nitric oxide observations in the lower thermosphere by HALOE on UARS

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Measurements of nitric oxide mixing ratios have been made by the Halogen Occultation Experiment on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite over an altitude range extending from 15 to 130 km on every spacecraft sunrise and sunset event with the exception of about 8% downtime. Selected NO profiles from the first few months of observations were examined with emphasis on the relation between geomagnetic disturbances and enhanced NO in the lower thermosphere. During a large geomagnetic storm on November 8–9, 1991, HALOE obtained 15 NO sunrise profiles along the ∼50°N latitude circle. A factor of 3 increase in NO mixing ratio above ∼115 km at this latitude and a one to two day decay time were observed. The measured NO longitude/altitude cross section on this day shows a longitudinal asymmetry in the NO distribution with a maximum near the geomagnetic pole. From approximately one month's data, a latitude/altitude cross section of zonal mean NO mixing ratio was calculated. An example of such cross sections demonstrates a strong positive correlation between geomagnetic activity and thermospheric NO globally. This auroral forcing has a larger effect on increasing NO at high latitude than at low latitude. Copyright 1993 by the American Geophysical Union.

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