Does Strong Tropospheric Forcing Cause Large-Amplitude Mesospheric Gravity Waves? A DEEPWAVE Case Study

Martina Bramberger, Andreas Dörnbrack, Katrina Bossert, Benedikt Ehard, David C. Fritts, Bernd Kaifler, Christian Mallaun, Andrew Orr, P. Dominique Pautet, Markus Rapp, Michael J. Taylor, Simon Vosper, Bifford P. Williams, Benjamin Witschas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

On 4 July 2014, during the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE), strong low-level horizontal winds of up to 35 m s−1 over the Southern Alps, New Zealand, caused the excitation of gravity waves having the largest vertical energy fluxes of the whole campaign (38 W m−2). At the same time, large-amplitude mesospheric gravity waves were detected by the Temperature Lidar for Middle Atmospheric Research (TELMA) located at Lauder (45.0°S, 169.7°E), New Zealand. The coincidence of these two events leads to the question of whether the mesospheric gravity waves were generated by the strong tropospheric forcing. To answer this, an extensive data set is analyzed, comprising TELMA, in situ aircraft measurements, radiosondes, wind lidar measurements aboard the DLR Falcon as well as Rayleigh lidar and advanced mesospheric temperature mapper measurements aboard the National Science Foundation/National Center for Atmospheric Research Gulfstream V. These measurements are further complemented by limited area simulations using a numerical weather prediction model. This unique data set confirms that strong tropospheric forcing can cause large-amplitude gravity waves in the mesosphere, and that three essential ingredients are required to achieve this: first, nearly linear propagation across the tropopause; second, leakage through the stratospheric wind minimum; and third, amplification in the polar night jet. Stationary gravity waves were detected in all atmospheric layers up to the mesosphere with horizontal wavelengths between 20 and 100 km. The complete coverage of our data set from troposphere to mesosphere proved to be valuable to identify the processes involved in deep gravity wave propagation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11,422-11,443
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume122
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 16 2017

Keywords

  • DEEPWAVE
  • influence of the lower stratospheric valve layer on deep propagation
  • mountain wave propagation
  • observation of gravity waves from troposphere to mesosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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