Accession Number:

ADA522524

Title:

Transparency of the Atmosphere to Short Horizontal Wavelength Gravity Waves

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC SPACE SCIENCE DIV

Report Date:

2008-12-16

Pagination or Media Count:

17.0

Abstract:

We use theory and global ray modeling to investigate how the potential of gravity waves to transport momentum flux globally from the lower atmosphere into the mesosphere and lower thermosphere MLT varies with horizontal wavelength and ground-based phase speed. Ray modeling is performed using the Gravity Wave Regional or Global Ray Tracer GROGRAT interfaced to realistic three-dimensional global winds and temperatures from 0 to 100 km altitude, specified by fusing analysis fields at lower altitudes to GCM results higher up. We focus on gravity waves in the short 10- to 50-km horizontal wavelength range that are unresolved by global models and, according to theory, can transport appreciable momentum flux into the MLT. Ray results for different seasons reproduce some of the limits derived from simple wave theory that horizontal wavelengths shorter than 10 km tend to be removed by vertical reflection or evanescence at the source and slower phase speeds are more prone to critical level removal, leading to a preference for waves with longer horizontal wavelengths and faster ground-based phase speeds to reach the MLT. These findings are compared to the wavelength scales currently resolved by satellite limb and nadir sounders, highlighting wavelength ranges currently measured and those currently unresolved. A road map is developed for how current and future satellite measurements can be combined to measure the full space-time spectrum of gravity waves relevant to eddy flux deposition and momentum forcing of the global MLT. In particular, recommendations for new satellite measurement strategies that fill current measurement gaps are provided.

Subject Categories:

  • Atmospheric Physics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE