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 T. Tsuda, Yuta Hozumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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° N) 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. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalProgress in Earth and Planetary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Aircraft
  • Airline
  • Global warming
  • Mesosphere
  • Middle latitudes
  • Noctilucent cloud


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