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Burns, G., French, J. (2020) Rotational temperature studies of the hydroxyl airglow layer above Davis, Antarctica - 1987-2018., Ver. 8, Australian Antarctic Data Centre - doi:10.26179/5f03d9d380421, Accessed: 2021-11-29
Rotational temperature studies of the hydroxyl airglow layer above Davis, Antarctica - 1987-2018.
Data Centre
Australian Antarctic Data Centre, Australia
Coupling, Energetics and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions, High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, UCAR
Created Date
Revision Date
Expected Date of Data Release
Data Version
Parent record


These OH rotational temperature data are derived from spectra collected with a Czerny-Turner scanning grating spectrometer operating at Davis station (69S, 78E), Antarctica (see Greet et al., 1998; French et al., 2000; Burns et al., 2002).

Hydroxyl (6-2) band rotational temperatures are derived using Langhoff et al (1986) transition probabilities. See French et al. (2000) for why we prefer these values.

The 1990 data are collected with the optical axis aligned 30-degrees above the horizon in a direction 130E from Davis. An order separating filter was not used in 1990. Details of the operation of the instrumentation in 1990 are included in Greet et al., (1998).

The 1990, 1994, 1995 and 1996 data are derived from OH(6-2) spectra collected as 5 consecutive scans accumulated in the order of 40 mins to 1 hour (see Burns et al., 2002).

The times listed for the 1990, 1994, 1995 and 1996 temperatures are calculated from the start time and end time of the accumulated spectrum, interpolated to the time of the P1(2) peak. Greater accuracy than this is not justified given the scanning nature of the instrument and the long acquire times.

From 1997, temperatures are determined from piece-wise scans collected in ~7.5 minutes (see Burns et al., 2002). From 1997, the time for each temperature is between two consecutive spectra. The line intensities are linearly interpolated to this time.

We derive temperatures as often as possible (moon-up, minor auroral contamination, all cloud conditions). Auroral, cloud and moon-light contaminations are handled and investigated as described in Burns et al., (2002).
We have provided UT date and time, weighted temperatures, weighted standard error (less than 15K), weighted counting error (less than 10K) and a cloud code.

The weighted temperature, weighted counting error and weighted standard deviation are explained in Greet et al. (1998).

The cloud code is:
0 clear skies
1 thin high cirrus or haze
2 patchy cloud
3 overcast
4 snow
5 unknown

Some discussion of the cloud observations is contained in Burns et al. (2002) and Greet et al. (1998).

This work was completed as part of ASAC project 701 (ASAC 701). From 2013 onwards, the work falls under AAS project 4157.

The fields in this dataset are:

Date (UT)
Time (UT)
Temperature (K)

The download file contains the raw data collected by the SPEX instrument, as well as the calculated temperature/hydroxyl values. The download file also contains a summary file of the data from 1995-2018.

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1995. Between 27th May (DOY 147) and 2nd August (DOY 214) the instrument function was degraded. Temperatures from this interval have not been provided.

1996. Between 28th June (DOY 179) and 20th July (DOY 201) extensive calibrations were undertaken on the instrument and no spectra were collected.

1996. From 26th September (DOY 269) to 2nd November (DOY 306) piece-wise scans but incorporating only P1(2) and P1(4) lines were undertaken. Temperatures from this interval of experimental testing are not included with these data.

1997. Between 1st July (DOY 182) to 17th August (DOY 229) the slit width was reduced from its normal 250 microns to 100 microns for a specific research program. Temperatures derived from this interval of reduced signal collection are not included.

2002. These nightly temperatures have a large uncertainty compared to the values derived for other years. The measured spectral response varied excessively during 2002, perhaps in part related to the variable performance of the PMT cooler. We presently estimate that some nightly temperatures may be in error by up to 3 K due to uncertainty in the applied spectral response correction. Typically the error associated with spectral response uncertainty (since 1998) is less than 0.5K.

2003. A mechanical failure of the grating stepper mechanism resulted in loss of data between days 180 and 189

2004. A hard disk drive failure occurred on day 110. Data on the failed drive could not be recovered (heads had ground into the disk platter substrate). Data were lost between days 097 and 113.Disruption of the slit parallelism occurred on day 145 and was not identified and corrected until day 217. This interval consequently has a degraded instrument function (FWHM 2.075 angstroms compared to ~1.6 angstroms normally)

2005. A shutter on the entrance system was left closed for the interval day 106 to day 117. New (Labview) control software was started on day 286.

2006. The entrance mirror was misaligned after automation between days 60 and 66 Communications interface failed between days 156 and 159

2007. Control computer software failure occurred for a short interval Day 225-226

2008. No data D061 or D162 due to power failures.

Other gaps have possibly occurred since these dates. Check the data for more information.


These data are publicly available for download from the provided URL.

The Czerny-Turner dataset is also available on the AAD fileshares at \\\files\ATMOS\Data\Davis_SPEX.

The FTS dataset is also available on the AAD fileshares at \\\files\Atmos\Data\Davis_FTS\.

Temporal Coverages

Spatial Coverages

Data Resolution

Temporal Resolution:
40 Minute(s)
Temporal Resolution:
7 Minute(s)

Science Keywords

Additional Keywords

  • DATE
  • OH(6-2)
  • TIME









Use Constraints

This data set conforms to the CCBY Attribution License (

Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at when using these data.


  • Earth Science Information Partners Program (Long Name)
  • ESIP (Short Name)

ISO Topic


Dataset Language

  • English

Orignating Centre

  • Australian Antarctic Division

Dataset Progress


IDN Node

  • AMD/AU
  • AMD
  • CEOS


  • Burns, G.B., French, W.J.R., Greet, F.A., Phillips, F.A., Williams, P.F.B., Finlayson, K. and Klich, G. (2002) Seasonal variations and inter-year trends in 7 years of hydroxyl airglow rotational temperatures at Davis station (69S, 78E), Antarctica., Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 64, 1167-1174
  • French, W.J.R., Burns, G.B., Finlayson, K., Greet, P.A., Lowe, R.P. and Williams, P.F.B. (2000) Hydroxyl (6-2) airglow emission intensity ratios for rotational temperature determination., Annales Geophysicae, 18, 1293-1303
  • Greet, P.A., French, W.J.R., Burns, G.B., Williams, P.F.B., Lowe, R.P. and Finlayson, K. (1998) OH(6-2) spectra and rotational temperature measurements at Davis, Antarctica., Annales Geophysicae, 16, 77-89
  • Langhoff, S.R., Werner, H-J, Rosmus, P, (1986) Theoretical transition probabilities for the OH meinel system., Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, 118, 507-529
  • W. John R. French, Frank J. Mulligan, and Andrew R. Klekociuk (2020) Analysis of 24 years of mesopause region OH rotational temperature observations at Davis, Antarctica – Part 1: long-term trends, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20, 6379–6394,

Metadata Revision History

    2003-09-04 JF Added 2002 data field Corrected 1996 End date Added JPG plots of data sets Defined fields of view (zenith, off-zenith) spacial extents 2008-08-07 - record updated by Dave Connell after new data were submitted by John French. 2009-08-07 - record updated by Dave Connell after new data were submitted by John French. 2012-11-06 - record updated by Dave Connell to correct dodgy characters 2013-08-19 - record updated by Dave Connell to include data provided by John French. 2014-03-21 - record updated by Dave Connell to link to the AAD fileshare for data access. 2014-03-25 - record updated by Dave Connell to link to an additional AAD fileshare. 2017-11-22 - record updated by Dave Connell after new data were provided by John French. 2019-03-15 - record updated by Dave Connell for ISO compliance. 2019-11-14 - record updated by Dave Connell to add 2018 data and publicly release the data. 2020-06-17 - record updated by Dave Connell after a data summary file was provided by John French.

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