Thermospheric density 2002–2004: TIMED/GUVI dayside limb observations and satellite drag

We use TIMED/GUVI dayside limb observations of thermospheric far ultraviolet (FUV) dayglow to infer height profiles of total mass density during the period 2002–2004. We compare these data with total mass density derived from drag-induced changes in the orbits of satellites with perigee heights ranging from 200 to 600 km. To accommodate sampling differences, we compute the ratio of observed total mass density, filtered on a 3-day timescale, to that predicted by the NRLMSISE-00 empirical model. The GUVI densities are in good agreement with the orbit-derived densities in the 300–500 km range, where the correlation of the two independent measurements is ∼0.68 and the relative bias is less than 5\%, which is within the absolute uncertainty of the drag results. Of interest is a prolonged depletion of upper thermospheric density (relative to NRLMSIS) during July 2002, when densities from both techniques were 20–35\% smaller than those predicted by NRLMSIS. Our results represent the first validation of absolute densities derived from FUV limb scanning.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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