skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: On the Anthropogenic Impact on Long-Term Evolution of Noctilucent Clouds

Abstract

Little is known about climate change effects in the transition region between the Earth's atmosphere and space, roughly at 80–120 km. Some of the earliest observations in this region come from noctilucent clouds (NLC) at ∼83‐km altitude. There is a long‐standing dispute whether NLC are indicators of climate change. We use model simulations for a time period of 138 years to study the impact of increasing CO2 and H2O on the development of NLC on centennial time scales. Since the beginning of industrialization the water vapor concentration mixing ratio at NLC heights has increased by ∼40% (1 ppmv) due to methane increase, whereas temperatures are nearly constant. The H2O increase has led to a large enhancement of NLC brightness. NLC presumably existed centuries earlier, but the chance to observe them by the naked eye was extremely small before the twentieth century, whereas it is likely to see several NLC per season in the modern era.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Kühlungsborn Germany
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1565670
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 13; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Geology

Citation Formats

Lübken, Franz-Josef, Berger, Uwe, and Baumgarten, Gerd. On the Anthropogenic Impact on Long-Term Evolution of Noctilucent Clouds. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2018gl077719.
Lübken, Franz-Josef, Berger, Uwe, & Baumgarten, Gerd. On the Anthropogenic Impact on Long-Term Evolution of Noctilucent Clouds. United States. doi:10.1029/2018gl077719.
Lübken, Franz-Josef, Berger, Uwe, and Baumgarten, Gerd. Mon . "On the Anthropogenic Impact on Long-Term Evolution of Noctilucent Clouds". United States. doi:10.1029/2018gl077719.
@article{osti_1565670,
title = {On the Anthropogenic Impact on Long-Term Evolution of Noctilucent Clouds},
author = {Lübken, Franz-Josef and Berger, Uwe and Baumgarten, Gerd},
abstractNote = {Little is known about climate change effects in the transition region between the Earth's atmosphere and space, roughly at 80–120 km. Some of the earliest observations in this region come from noctilucent clouds (NLC) at ∼83‐km altitude. There is a long‐standing dispute whether NLC are indicators of climate change. We use model simulations for a time period of 138 years to study the impact of increasing CO2 and H2O on the development of NLC on centennial time scales. Since the beginning of industrialization the water vapor concentration mixing ratio at NLC heights has increased by ∼40% (1 ppmv) due to methane increase, whereas temperatures are nearly constant. The H2O increase has led to a large enhancement of NLC brightness. NLC presumably existed centuries earlier, but the chance to observe them by the naked eye was extremely small before the twentieth century, whereas it is likely to see several NLC per season in the modern era.},
doi = {10.1029/2018gl077719},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
issn = {0094-8276},
number = 13,
volume = 45,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

Works referenced in this record:

NLC particle properties from a five-color lidar observation at 54°N
journal, May 2000

  • Alpers, M.; Gerding, M.; Höffner, J.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 105, Issue D10
  • DOI: 10.1029/2000JD900132

On the horizontal and temporal structure of noctilucent clouds as observed by satellite and lidar at ALOMAR (69N): TEMPORAL AND HORIZONTAL SCALES OF NLC
journal, January 2012

  • Baumgarten, G.; Chandran, A.; Fiedler, J.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 39, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049935

The noctilucent cloud (NLC) display during the ECOMA/MASS sounding rocket flights on 3 August 2007: morphology on global to local scales
journal, January 2009


Modeling of middle atmosphere dynamics with LIMA
journal, June 2008


Mesospheric temperature trends at mid-latitudes in summer: TRENDS AT MID-LATITUDES
journal, November 2011

  • Berger, U.; Lübken, F. -J.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 38, Issue 22
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049528

The millennium water vapour drop in chemistry–climate model simulations
journal, January 2016

  • Brinkop, Sabine; Dameris, Martin; Jöckel, Patrick
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 16, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-16-8125-2016

Noctilucent cloud in the western Arctic in 2005: Simultaneous lidar and camera observations and analysis
journal, March 2009

  • Collins, R. L.; Taylor, M. J.; Nielsen, K.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 71, Issue 3-4
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2008.09.044

The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project
journal, January 2011

  • Compo, G. P.; Whitaker, J. S.; Sardeshmukh, P. D.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 137, Issue 654
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.776

NLC observations during one solar cycle above ALOMAR
journal, March 2009

  • Fiedler, J.; Baumgarten, G.; Lübken, F. -J.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 71, Issue 3-4
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2008.11.010

Mean diurnal variations of noctilucent clouds during 7 years of lidar observations at ALOMAR
journal, January 2005


Simulation of secular trends in the middle atmosphere, 1950–2003
journal, January 2007

  • Garcia, R. R.; Marsh, D. R.; Kinnison, D. E.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, Issue D9
  • DOI: 10.1029/2006JD007485

Vertical structure of stratospheric water vapour trends derived from merged satellite data
journal, August 2014

  • Hegglin, M. I.; Plummer, D. A.; Shepherd, T. G.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 7, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2236

Mid-latitude mesospheric clouds and their environment from SOFIE observations
journal, November 2016

  • Hervig, Mark E.; Gerding, Michael; Stevens, Michael H.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 149
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2016.09.004

Relationships between polar mesospheric clouds, temperature, and water vapor from Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) observations
journal, January 2009

  • Hervig, Mark E.; Stevens, Michael H.; Gordley, Larry L.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 114, Issue D20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009JD012302

Die Höhe der leuchtenden Nachtwolken
journal, January 1896


An evaluation of uncertainties in monitoring middle atmosphere temperatures with the ground-based lidar network in support of space observations
journal, April 2011

  • Keckhut, P.; Randel, W. J.; Claud, C.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 73, Issue 5-6
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.01.003

Stratospheric and solar cycle effects on long-term variability of mesospheric ice clouds: ICE TRENDS AND SOLAR CYCLE FROM LIMA
journal, January 2009

  • Lübken, F. -J.; Berger, U.; Baumgarten, G.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 114, Issue D1
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009JD012377

The sensitivity of mesospheric ice layers to atmospheric background temperatures and water vapor
journal, January 2007

  • Lübken, Franz-Josef; Rapp, Markus; Strelnikova, Irina
  • Advances in Space Research, Vol. 40, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2007.01.014

Climate Change from 1850 to 2005 Simulated in CESM1(WACCM)
journal, October 2013

  • Marsh, Daniel R.; Mills, Michael J.; Kinnison, Douglas E.
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 26, Issue 19
  • DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00558.1

The SPARC water vapor assessment II: intercomparison of satellite and ground-based microwave measurements
journal, January 2017

  • Nedoluha, Gerald E.; Kiefer, Michael; Lossow, Stefan
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 17, Issue 23
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-17-14543-2017

Analysis of small-scale structures in lidar observations of noctilucent clouds using a pattern recognition method
journal, September 2017

  • Ridder, C.; Baumgarten, G.; Fiedler, J.
  • Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Vol. 162
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2017.04.005

How will changes in carbon dioxide and methane modify the mean structure of the mesosphere and thermosphere?
journal, December 1989


The roles of temperature and water vapor at different stages of the polar mesospheric cloud season: HOW P
journal, February 2012

  • Rong, P. P.; Russell, J. M.; Hervig, M. E.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 117, Issue D4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011JD016464

Is the polar mesosphere the miner's canary of global change?
journal, January 1996


Are noctilucent clouds harbingers of global change in the middle atmosphere?
journal, January 2003


Comment on “Are noctilucent clouds truly a “Miner's Canary” for Global Change?”
journal, September 2003

  • Thomas, Gary E.; Olivero, John J.; Deland, Mathew
  • Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Vol. 84, Issue 36
  • DOI: 10.1029/2003EO360008

Relation between increasing methane and the presence of ice clouds at the mesopause
journal, April 1989

  • Thomas, Gary E.; Olivero, John J.; Jensen, Eric J.
  • Nature, Vol. 338, Issue 6215
  • DOI: 10.1038/338490a0

Are noctilucent clouds a “Miner's Canary” for global change?
journal, January 2003

  • von Zahn, Ulf
  • Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Vol. 84, Issue 28
  • DOI: 10.1029/2003EO280001

Noctilucent clouds and the mesospheric water vapour: the past decade
journal, January 2004

  • von Zahn, U.; Baumgarten, G.; Berger, U.
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 4, Issue 11/12
  • DOI: 10.5194/acp-4-2449-2004