Ionospheric-thermospheric UV tomography: 3. A multisensor technique for creating full-orbit reconstructions of atmospheric UV emission


We present the Volume Emission Rate Tomography (VERT) technique for inverting satellite-based, multisensor limb and nadir measurements of atmospheric ultraviolet emission to create whole-orbit reconstructions of atmospheric volume emission rate. The VERT approach is more general than previous ionospheric tomography methods because it can reconstruct the volume emission rate field irrespective of the particular excitation mechanisms (e.g., radiative recombination, photoelectron impact excitation, and energetic particle precipitation in auroras); physical models are then applied to interpret the airglow. The technique was developed and tested using data from the Special Sensor Ultraviolet Limb Imager and Special Sensor Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager instruments aboard the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F-18 spacecraft and planned for use with upcoming remote sensing missions. The technique incorporates several features to optimize the tomographic solutions, such as the use of a nonnegative algorithm (Richardson-Lucy, RL) that explicitly accounts for the Poisson statistics inherent in optical measurements, capability to include extinction effects due to resonant scattering and absorption of the photons from the lines of sight, a pseudodiffusion-based regularization scheme implemented between iterations of the RL code to produce smoother solutions, and the capability to estimate error bars on the solutions. Tests using simulated atmospheric emissions verify that the technique performs well in a variety of situations, including daytime, nighttime, and even in the challenging terminator regions. Lastly, we consider ionospheric nightglow and validate reconstructions of the nighttime electron density against Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) Long-range Tracking and Identification Radar (ALTAIR) incoherent scatter radar data.

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Radio Science
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