NRL MSISE-00 (Mass Spectrometer - Incoherent Scatter) Model of the Upper Atmosphere


M. Picone, A.E. Hedin, D. Drob
Naval Research Laboratory


Neutral densities and temperature from ground to thermosphere

Brief Description:

The NRLMSIS-00 empirical atmosphere model was developed by Mike Picone, Alan Hedin, and Doug Drob based on the MSISE90 model. The main differences to MSISE90 are noted in the comments at the top of the computer code. They involve

  1. the extensive use of drag and accelerometer data on total mass density,
  2. the addition of a component to the total mass density that accounts for possibly significant contributions of O+ and hot oxygen at altitudes above 500 km, and
  3. the inclusion of the SMM UV occultation data on [O2].

The MSISE90 model describes the neutral temperature and densities in Earth's atmosphere from ground to thermospheric heights. Below 72.5 km the model is primarily based on the MAP Handbook (Labitzke et al., 1985) tabulation of zonal average temperature and pressure by Barnett and Corney, which was also used for the CIRA-86. Below 20 km these data were supplemented with averages from the National Meteorological Center (NMC). In addition, pitot tube, falling sphere, and grenade sounder rocket measurements from 1947 to 1972 were taken into consideration. Above 72.5 km MSISE-90 is essentially a revised MSIS-86 model taking into account data derived from space shuttle flights and newer incoherent scatter results. For someone interested only in the thermosphere (above 120 km), the author recommends the MSIS-86 model. MSISE is also not the model of preference for specialized tropospheric work. It is rather for studies that reach across several atmospheric boundaries.

UKSSDC Implementation

The program implemented here allows you to supply a range and step size for either latitude, longitude, height or time for the geomagnetic conditions prevalent for a particular date. The necessary values of Ap and solar radio flux are retrieved from the UKSSDC databases for a particular day. The values for the non-varying parameters are taken from the minimum for each of the other parameters.

The program produces for each time, altitude, latitude, longitude a table giving temperature, densities for N2, O, He, A, O2, H, N, and total mass density.

Input parameters
By Latitude :
Latitudes (-90,+90) : Minimum Maximum Step
By Longitude :
If the minimum longitude exceeds the maximum then the longitude range selected is that which spans the Greenwich meridian.
Longitudes (0,360) : Minimum Maximum Step
By Altitude :
Minimum altitude is 0km :
Minimum Maximum Step
By Time :
Time (UT) in hours plus step size :
Minimum Maximum Step

The data can be output to the screen in table format, or written to a file for FTP.


July 14, 2003
Beta version was replaced with offical version. Very minor changes primarily concerning the O2 and He profiles in the lower thermosphere and upper mesosphere.