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AIAA G-003

Revision C, January 1, 2010

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Guide to Reference and Standard Atmosphere Models

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Description / Abstract:

This standard provides guidelines for selected reference and standard atmospheric models for use in engineering design or scientific research. The guide describes the content of the models, uncertainties and limitations, technical basis, databases from which the models are formed, publication references, and sources of computer code where available for over seventy (70) Earth and planetary atmospheric models, for altitudes from surface to 4000 kilometers, which are generally recognized in the aerospace sciences. This standard is intended to assist aircraft and space vehicle designers and developers, geophysicists, meteorologists, and climatologists in understanding available models, comparing sources of data, and interpreting engineering and scientific results based on different atmospheric models.

The guide summarizes the principal features of the models to the extent the information is available:

• Model content

• Model uncertainties and limitations

• Basis of the model

• Publication references

• Dates of development, authors and sponsors

• Model codes and sources

The models are listed in the table of contents according to whether they are primarily global, middle atmosphere, thermosphere, range, or regional (i.e., applying only to a specific geographic location). This division is admittedly somewhat arbitrary because many of the models embody elements of several of the categories listed.

With few exceptions, there is no information on standard deviations from the mean values or frequencies of occurrence of the variables described by these models. This lack of information prohibits quantitative assessments of uncertainties, and is a serious deficiency in nearly all reference and standard atmospheric models.

Recommendations for models to include in subsequent revisions will be welcomed.