We compare the nitric oxide measurements in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (60 to 150 km) from four instruments: ACE-FTS, MIPAS, SCIAMACHY, and SMR. We use the daily zonal mean data in that altitude range for the years 2004-2010 (ACE-FTS), 2005-2012 (MIPAS), 2008-2012 (SCIAMACHY), and 2003-2012 (SMR).
We first compare the data qualitatively with respect to the morphology, focussing on the major features, and then compare the time series directly and quantitatively. In three geographical regions, we compare the vertical density profiles on coincident measurement days. Since none of the instruments delivers continuous daily measurements in this altitude region, we carried out a multi-linear regression analysis. This regression analysis considers annual and semi-annual variability in form of harmonic terms and inter-annual variability by responding linearly to the solar Lyman-alpha; radiation index and the geomagnetic Kp index. This analysis helps to find similarities and differences in the individual data sets with respect to the inter-annual variations caused by geomagnetic and solar variability.
We find that the data se ... mehrts are consistent and that they only disagree on minor aspects. SMR and ACE-FTS deliver the longest time series in the mesosphere and they both agree remarkably well. The shorter time series from MIPAS and SCIAMACHY also agree with them where they overlap. The data agree within ten to twenty percent when the number densities are large, but they can differ by 50 to 100% in some cases.