Atmospheric Science: US Standard Atmosphere 1962

Standard Atmosphere 1962

A sad example of the Mushroom Management that is endemic in Wikipedia is the breathtaking inclusion of a diagram [in their Atmosphere of Earth article] based upon the 1962 US Standard Atmosphere.

Evidently, Wikipedia thinks Atmospheric Science hasn’t advanced in the last 52 years.

Wikipedia Atmosphere of Earth

US_standard_atmosphere_1962

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth#Physical_properties

However, 1962 was a long time ago.

1962 saw the Beatles release their first single in the United Kingdom.

Beatles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Me_Do

1962 saw the arrival of the trijet airliner.

Trident

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_Siddeley_Trident

1962 saw John Glenn orbit the Earth three times.

Friendship 7

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury-Atlas_6

1962 saw Europe still enjoying black and white television.

The first regular color broadcasts in Europe were by the United Kingdom’s BBC2 beginning on July 1, 1967 (PAL).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_television

Scrolling down the Atmosphere of Earth article we find that Wikipedia has included a graph from the NRLMSISE-00 standard atmosphere model.

NRLMSISE-00 standard atmosphere - portrait

Temperature and mass density against altitude from the NRLMSISE-00 standard atmosphere model (the eight dotted lines in each “decade” are at the eight cubes 8, 27, 64, …, 729)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth

NRLMSISE-00 is apparently a model of the “Earth’s atmosphere from ground to space” developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory.

NRLMSISE-00 is an empirical, global model of the Earth’s atmosphere from ground to space. It models the temperatures and densities of the atmosphere’s components. A primary use of this model is to aid predictions of satellite orbital decay due to atmospheric drag. This model has also been used by astronomers to calculate the mass of air between telescopes and laser beams in order to assess the impact of laser guide stars on the non-lasing telescopes.

The model, developed by Mike Picone, Alan Hedin, and Doug Drob, is based on the earlier models MSIS-86 and MSISE-90, but updated with actual satellite drag data. It also predicts anomalous oxygen.

NRL stands for the US Naval Research Laboratory.
MSIS stands for Mass Spectrometer and Incoherent Scatter Radar respectively, the two primary data sources for development of earlier versions of the model.
E indicates that the model extends from the ground through exosphere and 00 is the year of release.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRLMSISE-00

Although NRLMSISE-00 can model the Earth’s atmosphere from ground to space Wikipedia only manages to provide a graph detailing the first 150 kilometres of the atmosphere.

Additionally, the example NRLMSISE-00 graph is not directly comparable with the 1962 US Standard Atmosphere because tucked away on the associated image page we learn that the NRLMSISE-00 graph was produced using the following parameters:

Day = 172
UT(Sec) = 29000
Geodetic Latitude(Deg) = 60
Geodetic Longitude(Deg) = 120
Local Apparent Solar Time(Hrs) = 16
81 day Average of F10.7 Flux = 150
Daily F10.7 Flux for Previous Day = 150
AP=Magnetic Index (Daily) = 4

On the positive side these parameters provide a wonderful insight into what the mainstream currently believe controls the density and temperature profiles of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Intriguingly, the NRLMSISE-00 model doesn’t have a parameter for CO2.

An additional bonus is that the Wikipedia article relating to the U.S. Standard Atmosphere provides a graphic detailing the “composition by volume of Earth’s atmosphere” [excluding water vapour] which is more comprehensive than the table provided by Wikipedia in their Atmosphere of Earth article.

Atmospheric_composition_Langley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Standard_Atmosphere

Furthermore, this Wikipedia article also provides a link to the 1976 version of the U.S. Standard Atmosphere…

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7 Responses to Atmospheric Science: US Standard Atmosphere 1962

  1. mkelly says:

    Although NRLMSISE-00 can model the Earth’s atmosphere from ground to space Wikipedia only manages to provide a graph detailing the first 150 kilometres of the atmosphere.

    I am confused. Earlier wiki said space start by convention at 100 km (62 miles). If so then the graph does show temperature vs. density up to space.

    • malagabay says:

      Where “space” starts seems to be a bit of a movable feast depending upon source and context…

      The thermosphere is the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere directly above the mesosphere and directly below the exosphere. Within this layer, ultraviolet radiation (UV) causes ionization…… the thermosphere begins about 85 kilometres (53 mi) above the Earth….
      The International Space Station has a stable orbit within the middle of the thermosphere, between 320 and 380 kilometres….
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermosphere

      My guess is the Earth Scientists like the 100 km limit whilst real Scientists think “space” begins at about 190,000 km.

      In principle, the exosphere covers all distances where particles are still gravitationally bound to Earth, i.e. particles still have ballistic orbits that will take them back towards Earth. The upper boundary of the exosphere can be defined as the distance at which the influence of solar radiation pressure on atomic hydrogen exceeds that of the Earth’s gravitational pull. This happens at half the distance to the Moon (190,000 kilometres (120,000 mi)).
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exobase

      It is very unlikely that NRLMSISE-00 stops at 100 km if it is “the standard for international space research”.

      According to the NRL website, NRLMSISE-00 is the standard for international space research.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRLMSISE-00

      And from the horses mouth:

      NRL has completed the new NRLMSISE-00 empirical model of the atmosphere for worldwide distribution to operational users and scientists.1 MSIS stands for Mass Spectrometer and Incoherent Scatter Radar, the two primary data sources underlying early versions of the model, and E indicates that the model extends from the ground to space, as opposed to early versions that covered only the upper atmosphere or “thermosphere” (altitude > 90 km). NRLMSISE-00 represents the culmination of an effort to preserve and radically extend NASA’s MSIS technology so that future military and scientific users could exploit the model’s advantages. The model calculates composition, temperature, and total mass density, and is the standard for international space research. Improvements have focused on the thermosphere, which offers the potential for a number of vital operational and scientific applications.
      http://www.nrl.navy.mil/research/nrl-review/2003/atmospheric-science/picone/

  2. A C Osborn says:

    Good enough for Space Flight but not for Climate calculations.

  3. Pingback: Atmospheric Science: US Standard Atmosphere 1976 | MalagaBay

  4. Pingback: Atmospheric Science: Mushroom Management | MalagaBay

  5. ES says:

    There are other standard atmospheres besides the US Standard Atmosphere like ISO, ISA and ICAO.
    They are used for calibrating altimeters, engines etc. and comparing aircraft performances. It assumes air is dry so in reality you never get a standard day. Other industries have their own Standard Atmospheres.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Atmosphere
    http://glossary.ametsoc.org/wiki/Standard_atmosphere

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