Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres








The V1.3 methane (CH4) measured by the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) instrument is validated in the vertical range of ~25–70 km. The random error for SOFIE CH4 is ~0.1–1% up to ~50 km and degrades to ~9% at ∼ 70 km. The systematic error remains at ~4% throughout the stratosphere and lower mesosphere. Comparisons with CH4 data taken by the SCISAT Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment-Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) and the Envisat Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) show an agreement within ~15% in the altitude range ~30–60 km. Below ~25 km SOFIE CH4 is systematically higher (≥20%), while above ~65 km it is lower by a similar percentage. The sign change from the positive to negative bias occurs between ~55 km and ~60 km (or ~40 km and ~45 km) in the Northern (or Southern) Hemisphere. Methane, H2O, and 2CH4 + H2O yearly differences from their values in 2009 are examined using SOFIE and MIPAS CH4 and the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) measured H2O. It is concluded that 2CH4 + H2O is conserved with altitude up to an upper limit between ~35 km and ~50 km depending on the season. In summer this altitude is higher. In the Northern Hemisphere the difference relative to 2009 is the largest in late spring and the established difference prevails throughout summer and fall, suggesting that summer and fall are dynamically quiet. In both hemispheres during winter there are disturbances (with a period of ~1 month) that travel downward throughout the stratosphere with a speed similar to the winter descent. ©2016. American Geophysical Union.

Original Publication Citation

Rong, P. P., Russell, J. M., III, Marshall, B. T., Siskind, D. E., Hervig, M. E., Gordley, L. L., . . . Walker, K. A. (2016). Version 1.3 AIM SOFIE measured methane (CH4): Validation and seasonal climatology. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(21), 13,158-113,179. doi:10.1002/2016JD025415


0000-0002-1255-396X (Bernath)