TIMED Doppler Interferometer: Overview and recent results

T. L. Killeen, Q. Wu, S. C. Solomon, D. A. Ortland, W. R. Skinner, R. J. Niciejewski, D. A. Gell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite carries a limb-scanning Fabry-Perot interferometer designed to perform remote-sensing measurements of upper atmosphere winds and temperatures globally. This instrument is called the TIMED Doppler Interferometer, or TIDI. This paper provides an overview of the TIDI instrument design, on-orbit performance, operational modes, data processing and inversion procedures, and a summary of wind results to date. Daytime and nighttime neutral winds in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere/ionosphere (MLTI) are measured on TIDI using four individual scanning telescopes that collect light from various upper atmosphere airglow layers on both the cold and warm sides of the high-inclination TIMED spacecraft. The light is spectrally analyzed using an ultrastable plane etalon Fabry-Perot system with sufficient spectral resolution to determine the Doppler line characteristics of atomic and molecular emissions emanating from the MLTI. The light from all four telescopes and from an internal calibration field passes through the etalon and is combined on a single image plane detector using a Circle-to-Line Interferometer Optic (CLIO). The four geophysical fields provide orthogonal line-of-sight measurements to either side of the satellite's path and these are analyzed to produce altitude profiles of vector winds in the MLTI. The TIDI wind measurements presented here are from the molecular oxygen (0-0) band, covering the altitude region 85-105 km. The unique TIDI design allows for more extended local time coverage of wind structures than previous wind-measuring instruments from high-inclination satellites. The TIDI operational performance has been nominal except for two anomalies: (1) higher than expected background white light caused by a low-level light leak and (2) ice deposition on cold optical surfaces. Both anomalies are well understood and the instrumental modes and data analysis techniques have been adjusted to mitigate their effects on data quality. The analysis techniques used to derive winds are described. The TIDI wind measurements from multiple yaw cycles of TIMED have been used to extract migrating diurnal and semidiurnal tides. The migrating tide results are compared with predictions from the Global Scale Wave Model (GSWM), and results from the Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite, High Resolution Doppler Imager (HRDI) instrument. TIDI wind measurements are also compared with ground-based meteor radar observations, showing consistent results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA10S01
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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