Superposition of gravity waves with different propagation characteristics observed by airborne and space-borne infrared sounders

Isabell Krisch, Manfred Ern, Lars Hoffmann, Peter Preusse, Cornelia Strube, Jörn Ungermann, Wolfgang Woiwode, Martin Riese
2020
Many gravity wave analyses, based on either observations or model simulations, assume the presence of only a single dominant wave. This paper shows that there are much more complex cases with gravity waves from multiple sources crossing each others' paths. A complex gravity wave structure consisting of a superposition of multiple wave packets was observed above southern Scandinavia on 28 January 2016 with the Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere (GLORIA). The
more » ... RIA). The tomographic measurement capability of GLORIA enabled a detailed 3-D reconstruction of the gravity wave field and the identification of multiple wave packets with different horizontal and vertical scales. The larger-scale gravity waves with horizontal wavelengths of around 400 km could be characterised using a 3-D wave-decomposition method. The smaller-scale wave components with horizontal wavelengths below 200 km were discussed by visual inspection. For the larger-scale gravity wave components, a combination of gravity-wave ray-tracing calculations and ERA5 reanalysis fields identified orography as well as a jet-exit region and a low-pressure system as possible sources. All gravity waves are found to propagate upward into the middle stratosphere, but only the orographic waves stay directly above their source. The comparison with ERA5 also shows that ray tracing provides reasonable results even for such complex cases with multiple overlapping wave packets. Despite their coarser vertical resolution compared to GLORIA measurements, co-located AIRS measurements in the middle stratosphere are in good agreement with the ray tracing and ERA5 results, proving once more the validity of simple ray-tracing models. Thus, this paper demonstrates that the high-resolution GLORIA observations in combination with simple ray-tracing calculations can provide an important source of information for enhancing our understanding of gravity wave propagation.
doi:10.5445/ir/1000126854 fatcat:gvioem5stnh5bhaqgl5v3l55fe