Aeronomy by P. M. Banks and G. Kockarts (Auth.)

By P. M. Banks and G. Kockarts (Auth.)

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D. ). Chapter 6, p. 103. , Amsterdam, 1963. 55. H. D. Babcock and L. Herzberg, Astrophys. J. 108, 167 (1948). 56. G. A. Lane and M. Dole, Science 123, 574 (1956). 1 Introduction Thirty years ago it was generally accepted that the composition of the stratospheric air varied with altitude because it was believed that helium and oxygen samples taken above 20 km showed departures from a mixing distribution toward partial diffusive separation. Today one must conclude that the relative helium content is the same in the stratosphere as at ground level.

1. In the neighborhood of the stratopause, there is an almost perfect photochemical equilibrium. But, it is also clear that below 30 km the time required to reach photochemical equilibrium becomes sufficiently long such that diurnal variations can lead to departures from equilibrium conditions. 1 TIME NEEDED TO OBTAIN EQUILIBRIUM CONDITIONS OF OZONE Altitude (km) Overhead sun time τ ( 0 3 ) 50 6 hr 45 12 hr 40 Sun 15° above horizon time τ ( 0 3 ) 11 hr 1 day 2 days 6 days 47 days 35 8 days 30 40 days 2 yr 25 170 days 38 yr 20 3 yr 3500 yr 15 28 yr 5 x 106 yr the lower stratosphere a possibility of modifying a photochemical equilibrium exists.

Present rocket information on diffusion in the thermosphère must be analyzed by taking into account the unknown and variable transition between regions of perfect mixing and diffusive equilibrium. In any atmospheric model the introduction of a diffusion level must always be below the actual level of diffusive equilibrium. Consequently, the heterosphere, which begins with the dissociation of molecular oxygen, is also subject in the same altitude range to departures from mixing and diffusive conditions.

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