** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    • Progress in Earth and Planetary Science
    Progress in Earth and Planetary Science

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    Atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences

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    Capability of airline jets as an observation platform for noctilucent clouds at middle latitudes

    Hidehiko Suzuki, Ayako Matsumoto, Peter Dalin, Yuriko Nakamura, Satoshi Ishii, Kazuyo Sakanoi, Kaori Sakaguchi, Taku Takada, Takuo Tsuda, Yuta Hozumi

    Noctilucent cloud, mesosphere, middle latitudes, global warming, airline, aircraft

    Typical NLC image (enclosed by red dash line) taken during flight NH105.

    The exact occurrence frequency of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) in middle latitudes is significant information because it is thought to be sensitive to long-term atmospheric change. We conducted NLC observation from airline jets in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer 2019 to evaluate the effectiveness of NLC observation from airborne platforms. By cooperating with the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA), imaging observations of NLCs were conducted on 13 flights from Jun 8 to Jul 12. As a result of careful analysis, 8 of these 13 flights were found to successfully detect NLCs from middle latitudes (lower than 55°┬áN) during their cruising phase. Based on the results of these test observations, it is shown that an airline jet is a powerful tool to continuously monitor the occurrence frequency of NLCs at midlatitudes which is generally difficult with a polar orbiting satellite due to sparse sampling in both temporal and spatial domain. The advantages and merits of NLC observation from jets over satellite observation from a point of view of imaging geometry are also presented.