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A-Train Observations of Atmospheric Composition and Polar Stratospheric Cloud Formation

Alyn Lambert(1), D.L. Wu(1), J.H. Chae(1), M.L. Santee(1), W.G. Read(1), M.J. Schwartz(1), L. Froidevaux(1) and N.J. Livesey(1)

(1) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CalTech, 4800 Oak Grove Dr, Pasadena, CA 91109, United States


The Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) has been operating as a key instrument in the NASA Afternoon 'A-Train' Satellite Constellation since July 2004. The Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) and CloudSat joined the A-Train in April 2006. Following a re-configuration of the Aura Satellite within the A-Train after April 2008, the MLS limb tangent points are collocated across-track to within ten kilometers of the CALIPSO/CloudSat nadir field of view and the temporal sampling differences are less than 30 seconds. Complementary cloud and aerosol measurements obtained from the CALIPSO and CloudSat instruments combined with MLS measurements of atmospheric temperature and composition allow the evolution of polar stratospheric clouds to be investigated in correspondence with their effects on the vertical redistribution of water vapor and nitric acid.