Aura MLS


Contact: William Read for troposphere, Alyn Lambert for stratosphere and mesosphere

Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the troposphere. Its greatest influences on climate forcing is in the upper troposphere, and it is generally believed that water vapor amplifies the radiative forcing associated with the anthropogenic increases in carbon dioxide.

In the tropics upper tropospheric water vapor is closely linked to sea surface temperature and thus ocean-atmosphere coupling phenomena such as the El Nino southern oscillation can be observed.

Energy is released when water vapor condenses and large values of relative humidity, which is derived from water vapor and temperature, show where cloud formation is likely.

Stratospheric water vapor influences stratospheric ozone chemistry both by providing a source of odd-hydrogen that destroys ozone and by influencing the formation of polar stratospheric clouds that trigger processes leading to large ozone loss in polar winter.

Water vapor has been increasing in the stratosphere, believed due to changes near the tropical troposphere where water vapor enters the stratosphere.

How it is part of MLS Science Objectives

Scientific objectives of MLS include quantifying upper tropospheric processes affecting climate change, and tracking recovery of the ozone layer. The measurements of water vapor are crucial for both these objectives.

How EOS MLS measures H2O

The standard water vapor product is taken from the 190-GH "CorePlusR2" retrieval.

H2O Information from the Spectroscopy Database

Quick Product Information for data version v5

  • Swath Name: H2O
  • Status Flag: Only use profiles for which the Status field is an even number.
  • Useful Range: 316 - 0.001 hPa
  • DAAC Short Name: ML2H2O
  • Precision: Only use values for which the estimated precision is a positive number.
  • Quality Threshold: >0.7
  • Convergence Threshold: <2.0

Download Aura MLS H2O v5 data

Latest Publications (H2O)

  1. Ma, Z., Y. Gong, S. Zhang, Q. Xiao, C. Huang and K. Huang
    A new methodology for measuring traveling quasi-5-day oscillations during SSWs based on satellite observations
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. doi:10.5194/acp-2022-393, in review
  2. Koshin, D., M. Kohma and K. Sato
    Characteristics of the Intraseasonal Oscillation in the Equatorial Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere Region Revealed by Satellite Observation and Global Analysis by the JAGUAR Data Assimilation System
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2022jd036816, 2022
  3. Ma, Z., Y. Gong, S. Zhang, Q. Xiao, C. Huang and K. Huang
    A new methodology for measuring traveling quasi-5-day oscillations during sudden stratospheric warming events based on satellite observations
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. doi:10.5194/acp-22-13725-2022, 2022
  4. Ma, Z., Y. Gong, S. Zhang, Q. Xiao, J. Xue, C. Huang and K. Huang
    Understanding the Excitation of Quasi‐6‐Day Waves in Both Hemispheres During the September 2019 Antarctic SSW
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2021jd035984, 2022
  5. Pedatella, N.M. and V.L. Harvey
    Impact of Strong and Weak Stratospheric Polar Vortices on the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2022gl098877, 2022
  6. Qin, Y., S. Gu, X. Dou, C. Teng, Z. Yang and R. Sun
    Southern Hemisphere Response to the Secondary Planetary Waves Generated During the Arctic Sudden Stratospheric Final Warmings: Influence of the Quasi‐Biennial Oscillation
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2022jd037730, 2022
  7. Ern, M., M. Diallo, P. Preusse, M. Mlynczak, M. Schwartz, Q. Wu and M. Riese
    The semiannual oscillation SAO in the tropical middle atmosphere and its gravity wave driving in reanalyses and satellite observations
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. doi:10.5194/acp-21-13763-2021, 2021
  8. Kumar, K., B. Singh and Kumar, K.
    Intriguing aspects of Asian Summer Monsoon Anticyclone Ozone variability from Microwave Limb Sounder measurements
    Atmos. Res. 10.1016/j.atmosres.2021.105479, 2021
  9. Lieberman, R.S., J. France, D.A. Ortland and S.D. Eckermann
    The role of inertial instability in cross-hemispheric coupling
    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences doi:10.1175/jas-d-20-0119.1, 2021
  10. Luo, J., Y. Gong, Z. Ma, S. Zhang, Q. Zhou, C. Huang, K. Huang, Y. Yu and G. Li
    Study of the Quasi 10‐Day Waves in the MLT Region During the 2018 February SSW by a Meteor Radar Chain
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics doi:10.1029/2020ja028367, 2021
  11. Matthias, V., G. Stober, A. Kozlovsky, M. Lester, E. Belova and J. Kero
    Vertical Structure of the Arctic Spring Transition in the Middle Atmosphere
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2020jd034353, 2021
  12. Nishiyama, T., M. Taguchi, H. Suzuki, P. Dalin, Y. Ogawa, U. Brändström and T. Sakanoi
    Temporal evolutions of N2 Meinel (1,2) band near 1.5µm associated with aurora breakup and their effects on mesopause temperature estimations from OH Meinel (3,1) band
    Earth, Planets and Space 10.1186/s40623-021-01360-0, 2021
  13. Nishiyama, T., M. Taguchi, H. Suzuki, P. Dalin, Y. Ogawa, U. Brändström and T. Sakanoi
    Temporal evolutions of N2 Meinel 1,2 band near 1.5µm associated with aurora breakup and their effects on mesopause temperature estimations from OH Meinel 3,1 band
    Earth, Planets and Space doi:10.1186/s40623-021-01360-0, 2021
  14. Qin, Y., S. Gu and X. Dou
    A New Mechanism for the Generation of Quasi‐6‐Day and Quasi‐10‐Day Waves During the 2019 Antarctic Sudden Stratospheric Warming
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2021jd035568, 2021
  15. Qin, Y., S. Gu, X. Dou, C. Teng and H. Li
    On the Westward Quasi‐8‐Day Planetary Waves in the Middle Atmosphere During Arctic Sudden Stratospheric Warmings
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2021jd035071, 2021
  16. Shi, Y., O. Evtushevsky, V. Shulga, G. Milinevsky, A. Klekociuk, Y. Andrienko and W. Han
    Mid-Latitude Mesospheric Zonal Wave 1 and Wave 2 in Recent Boreal Winters
    Remote Sens. doi:10.3390/rs13183749, 2021
  17. Stober, G., D. Janches, V. Matthias, D. Fritts, J. Marino, T. Moffat-Griffin, K. Baumgarten, W. Lee, D. Murphy, Y. Kim, N. Mitchell and S. Palo
    Seasonal evolution of winds, atmospheric tides, and Reynolds stress components in the Southern Hemisphere mesosphere–lower thermosphere in 2019
    Annales Geophysicae doi:10.5194/angeo-39-1-2021, 2021
  18. Wang, J.C., S.E. Palo, J.M. Forbes, J. Marino, T. Moffat‐Griffin and N.J. Mitchell
    Unusual Quasi 10‐Day Planetary Wave Activity and the Ionospheric Response During the 2019 Southern Hemisphere Sudden Stratospheric Warming
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics doi:10.1029/2021ja029286, 2021
  19. Yamazaki, Y., V. Matthias and Y. Miyoshi
    Quasi‐4‐Day Wave: Atmospheric Manifestation of the First Symmetric Rossby Normal Mode of Zonal Wavenumber 2
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2021jd034855, 2021
  20. Yue, J. and Q. Gan
    Quasi-two-day wave modulation of carbon dioxide in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere
    J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2021.105750, 2021
  21. Eswaraiah, S., K.N. Kumar, Y.H. Kim, G.V. Chalapathi, W. Lee, G. Jiang, C. Yan, G. Yang, M.V. Ratnam, P.V. Prasanth, S.V.B. Rao and K. Thyagarajan
    Low-latitude mesospheric signatures observed during the 2017 sudden stratospheric warming using the fuke meteor radar and ERA-5
    J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys. 2020
  22. Iimura, H., D. Fritts, R. Lieberman, D. Janches, N. Mitchell, W. Singer, S. Franke and W. Hocking
    Interhemispheric Comparisons of Structure and Variability of the Quasi-2-Day Wave at Middle and High Latitudes
    Earth and Space Science 10.1002/essoar.10502029.1, 2020
  23. Merzlyakov, E., T. Solovyova, A. Yudakov, D. Korotyshkin, C. Jacobi and F. Lilienthal
    Some features of the day-to-day MLT wind variability in winter 2017–2018 as seen with a European/Siberian meteor radar network
    Adv. Space Res. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2019.12.018, 2020
  24. Schwartz, M., M. Santee, H. Pumphrey, G. Manney, A. Lambert, N. Livesey, L. Millán, J. Neu, W. Read and F. Werner
    Australian New Year's PyroCb Impact on Stratospheric Composition
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2020gl090831, 2020
  25. Yamazaki, Y., V. Matthias, Y. Miyoshi, C. Stolle, T. Siddiqui, G. Kervalishvili, J. Laštovička, M. Kozubek, W. Ward, D.R. Themens, S. Kristoffersen and P. Alken
    September 2019 Antarctic Sudden Stratospheric Warming: Quasi‐6‐Day Wave Burst and Ionospheric Effects
    Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1029/2019gl086577, 2020
  26. Fritts, D., H. Iimura, D. Janches, R. Lieberman, D. Riggin, N. Mitchell, R. Vincent, I. Reid, D. Murphy, M. Tsutsumi, A. Kavanagh, P. Batista and W. Hocking
    Structure, Variability, and Mean‐Flow Interactions of the January 2015 Quasi‐Two‐Day Wave at Middle and High Southern Latitudes
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2018jd029728, 2019
  27. Harvey, V.L., C. Randall, E. Becker, A. Smith, C. Bardeen, J. France and L. Goncharenko
    Evaluation of the Mesospheric Polar Vortices in WACCM
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2019jd030727, 2019
  28. Korotyshkin, D., E. Merzlyakov, C. Jacobi, F. Lilienthal and Q. Wu
    Longitudinal MLT wind structure at higher mid-latitudes as seen by meteor radars at central and Eastern Europe 13°E/49°E
    Adv. Space Res. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2019.01.036, 2019
  29. Smith, A., L. Holt, R. Garcia, J. Anstey, F. Serva, N. Butchart, S. Osprey, A. Bushell, Y. Kawatani, Y. Kim, F. Lott, P. Braesicke, C. Cagnazzo, C. Chen, H. Chun, L. Gray, T. Kerzenmacher, H. Naoe, J. Richter, S. Versick, V. Schenzinger, S. Watanabe and K. Yoshida
    The equatorial stratospheric semiannual oscillation and time‐mean winds in QBOi models
    Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. doi:10.1002/qj.3690, 2019
  30. Yamazaki, Y. and V. Matthias
    Large‐Amplitude Quasi‐10‐Day Waves in the Middle Atmosphere During Final Warmings
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2019jd030634, 2019
  31. Yi, W., X. Xue, I. Reid, D. Murphy, C. Hall, M. Tsutsumi, B. Ning, G. Li, R. Vincent, J. Chen, J. Wu, T. Chen and X. Dou
    Climatology of the mesopause relative density using a global distribution of meteor radars
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. doi:10.5194/acp-19-7567-2019, 2019
  32. France, J.A., C.E. Randall, R.S. Lieberman, V.L. Harvey, S.D. Eckermann, D.E. Siskind, J.D. Lumpe, S.M. Bailey, J.N. Carstens and J.M. Russell
    Local and Remote Planetary Wave Effects on Polar Mesospheric Clouds in the Northern Hemisphere in 2014
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2017jd028224, 2018
  33. Harvey, V.L., C. Randall, L. Goncharenko, E. Becker and J. France
    On the Upward Extension of the Polar Vortices Into the Mesosphere
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2018jd028815, 2018
  34. Kablick, G., M. Fromm, S. Miller, P. Partain, D. Peterson, S. Lee, Y. Zhang, A. Lambert and Z. Li
    The Great Slave Lake PyroCb of 5 August 2014: Observations, Simulations, Comparisons With Regular Convection, and Impact on UTLS Water Vapor
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1029/2018jd028965, 2018
  35. Matthias, V. and M. Ern
    On the origin of the mesospheric quasi-stationary planetary waves in the unusual Arctic winter 2015/2016
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. 10.5194/acp-18-4803-2018, 2018
  36. Pancheva, D., P. Mukhtarov and D. Siskind
    The quasi-6-day waves in NOGAPS-ALPHA forecast model and their climatology in MLS/Aura measurements 2005–2014
    J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2018.10.008, 2018
  37. Rüfenacht, R., G. Baumgarten, J. Hildebrand, F. Schranz, V. Matthias, G. Stober, F. Lübken and N. Kämpfer
    Validation of middle-atmospheric wind in observations and models
    Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions doi:10.5194/amt-2017-390, 2018
  38. Sato, K., R. Yasui and Y. Miyoshi
    The Momentum Budget in the Stratosphere, Mesosphere, and Lower Thermosphere. Part I: Contributions of Different Wave Types and In Situ Generation of Rossby Waves
    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences doi:10.1175/jas-d-17-0336.1, 2018
  39. Yamazaki, Y., C. Stolle, J. Matzka and P. Alken
    Quasi-6-Day Wave Modulation of the Equatorial Electrojet
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics doi:10.1029/2018ja025365, 2018
  40. Yamazaki, Y.
    Quasi‐6‐Day Wave Effects on the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly Over a Solar Cycle
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics doi:10.1029/2018ja026014, 2018
  41. Yi, W., I. Reid, X. Xue, D. Murphy, C. Hall, M. Tsutsumi, B. Ning, G. Li, J. Younger, T. Chen and X. Dou
    High- and Middle-Latitude Neutral Mesospheric Density Response to Geomagnetic Storms
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1002/2017gl076282, 2018
  42. Zawedde, A., H.N. Tyssøy, J. Stadsnes and M. Sandanger
    The Impact of Energetic Particle Precipitation on Mesospheric OH - Variability of the Sources and the Background Atmosphere
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics doi:10.1029/2017ja025038, 2018
  43. Gisinger, S., A. Dörnbrack, V. Matthias, J. Doyle, S. Eckermann, B. Ehard, L. Hoffmann, B. Kaifler, C. Kruse and M. Rapp
    Atmospheric Conditions during the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment DEEPWAVE
    Monthly Weather Review doi:10.1175/mwr-d-16-0435.1, 2017
  44. Smith, A., R. Garcia, A. Moss and N. Mitchell
    The Semiannual Oscillation of the Tropical Zonal Wind in the Middle Atmosphere Derived from Satellite Geopotential Height Retrievals
    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences doi:10.1175/jas-d-17-0067.1, 2017
  45. Stober, G., V. Matthias, C. Jacobi, S. Wilhelm, J. Höffner and J. Chau
    Exceptionally strong summer-like zonal wind reversal in the upper mesosphere during winter 2015/16
    Annales Geophysicae doi:10.5194/angeo-35-711-2017, 2017
  46. Ern, M., Q. Trinh, M. Kaufmann, I. Krisch, P. Preusse, J. Ungermann, Y. Zhu, J. Gille, M. Mlynczak, J. Russell III, M. Schwartz and M. Riese
    Satellite observations of middle atmosphere gravity wave absolute momentum flux and of its vertical gradient during recent stratospheric warmings
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. doi:10.5194/acp-16-9983-2016, 2016
  47. Matthias, V., A. Dörnbrack and G. Stober
    The extraordinarily strong and cold polar vortex in the early northern winter 2015/2016
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1002/2016gl071676, 2016
  48. Lukianova, R., A. Kozlovsky, S. Shalimov, T. Ulich and M. Lester
    Thermal and dynamical perturbations in the winter polar mesosphere-lower thermosphere region associated with sudden stratospheric warmings under conditions of low solar activity
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics doi:10.1002/2015ja021269, 2015
  49. Manney, G., Z. Lawrence, M. Santee, W. Read, N. Livesey, A. Lambert, L. Froidevaux, H. Pumphrey and M. Schwartz
    A minor sudden stratospheric warming with a major impact: Transport and polar processing in the 2014/2015 Arctic winter
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1002/2015gl065864, 2015
  50. Merzlyakov, E.G., C. Jacobi and T.V. Solovjova
    The year-to-year variability of the autumn transition dates in the mesosphere/lower thermosphere wind regime and its coupling with the dynamics of the stratosphere and troposphere
    J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2014.11.002, 2015
  51. Younger, J.P., I.M. Reid, R.A. Vincent and D.J. Murphy
    A method for estimating the height of a mesospheric density level using meteor radar
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1002/2015gl065066, 2015
  52. Younger, J.P., C.S. Lee, I.M. Reid, R.A. Vincent, Y.H. Kim and D.J. Murphy
    The effects of deionization processes on meteor radar diffusion coefficients below 90 km
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres doi:10.1002/2014JD021787, 2014
  53. Lee, J.N., D.L. Wu, G.L. Manney, M.J. Schwartz, A. Lambert, N.J. Livesey, K.R. Minschwaner, H.C. Pumphrey and W.G. Read
    Aura Microwave Limb Sounder Observations of the Polar Middle Atmosphere: Dynamics and Transport of CO and H2O
    J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2010JD014608, 2011
  54. Limpasuven, V., M.J. Alexander, Y.J. Orsolini, D.L. Wu, M. Xue, J.H. Richter and C. Yamashita
    Mesoscale simulations of gravity waves during the 2008-2009 major stratospheric sudden warming
    J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2010JD015190, 2011
  55. McDonald, A.J., R.E. Hibbins and M.J. Jarvis
    Properties of the quasi 16 day wave derived form EOS MLS observations
    J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2010JD014719, 2011
  56. Wu, L., H. Su and J.H. Jiang
    Regional simulations of deep convection and biomass burning over South America: 1. Model evaluations using multiple satellite data sets
    J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2011JD016105, 2011
  57. Lee, J.N., D.L. Wu, G.L. Manney and M.J. Schwartz
    Aura Microwave Limb Sounder observations of the Northern Annular Mode: From the mesosphere to the upper troposphere
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2009GL040678, 2009
  58. Manney, G.L., M.J. Schwartz, K. Krueger, M.L. Santee, S. Pawson, J.N. Lee, W.H. Daffer, R.A. Fuller and N.J. Livesey
    Aura Microwave Limb Sounder Observations of Dynamics and Transport During the Record-breaking 2009 Arctic Stratospheric Major Warming
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2009GL038586, 2009
  59. Manney, G.L., K. Kruger, S. Pawson, K. Minschwaner, M.J. Schwartz, W.H. Daffer, N.J. Livesey, M.G. Mlynczak, E.E. Remsberg, J.M. Russell and J.W. Waters
    The evolution of the stratopause during the 2006 major warming: Satellite Data and Assimilated Meteorological Analyses
    J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2007JD00909, 2008
  60. Sandford, D.J., M.J. Schwartz and N.J. Mitchell
    The Wintertime two-day wave the the Polar Stratosphere, Mesosphere and lower Thermosphere
    Atmos. Chem. Phys. doi:10.5194/acp-8-749-2008, 2008
  61. Schwartz, M.J., D.E. Waliser, B. Tian, D.L. Wu, J.H. Jiang and W.G. Read
    Characterization of MJO-Related Upper-Tropospheric Hydrological Processes Using MLS
    Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1029/2008GL033675, 2008
  62. Schwartz, M.J., A. Lambert, G.L. Manney, W.G. Read, N.J. Livesey, L. Froidevaux, C.O. Ao, P.F. Bernath, C.D. Boone, R.E. Cofield, W.H. Daffer, B.J. Drouin, E.J. Fetzer, R.A. Fuller, R.F. Jarnot, J.H. Jiang, Y.B. Jiang, B.W. Knosp, K. Kruger, J.L.F. Li, M.G. Mlynczak, S. Pawson, J.M. Russell, M.L. Santee, W.V. Snyder, P.C. Stek, R.P. Thurstans, A.M. Tompkins, P.A. Wagner, K.A. Walker, J.W. Waters and D.L. Wu
    Validation of the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder Temperature and Geopotential Height Measurements
    J. Geophys. Res. doi:10.1029/2007JD008783, 2008
  63. Cofield, R.E. and P.C. Stek
    Design and field-of-view calibration of 114-660 GHz optics of the Earth Observing System Microwave Limb Sounder
    IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing doi:10.1109/TGRS.2006.873234, 2006