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Volume 18, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Sources, propagation, dissipation and impact of gravity waves...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 371-384, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-371-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Jan 2018

Research article | 12 Jan 2018

Temporal variability of tidal and gravity waves during a record long 10-day continuous lidar sounding

Kathrin Baumgarten, Michael Gerding, Gerd Baumgarten, and Franz-Josef Lübken Kathrin Baumgarten et al.
  • Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Rostock, Kühlungsborn, Germany

Abstract. Gravity waves (GWs) as well as solar tides are a key driving mechanism for the circulation in the Earth's atmosphere. The propagation of gravity waves is strongly affected by tidal waves as they modulate the mean background wind field and vice versa, which is not yet fully understood and not adequately implemented in many circulation models. The daylight-capable Rayleigh–Mie–Raman (RMR) lidar at Kühlungsborn (54°N, 12°E) typically provides temperature data to investigate both wave phenomena during one full day or several consecutive days in the middle atmosphere between 30 and 75km altitude. Outstanding weather conditions in May 2016 allowed for an unprecedented 10-day continuous lidar measurement, which shows a large variability of gravity waves and tides on timescales of days. Using a one-dimensional spectral filtering technique, gravity and tidal waves are separated according to their specific periods or vertical wavelengths, and their temporal evolution is studied. During the measurement period a strong 24h wave occurs only between 40 and 60km and vanishes after a few days. The disappearance is related to an enhancement of gravity waves with periods of 4–8h. Wind data provided by ECMWF are used to analyze the meteorological situation at our site. The local wind structure changes during the observation period, which leads to different propagation conditions for gravity waves in the last days of the measurement period and therefore a strong GW activity. The analysis indicates a further change in wave–wave interaction resulting in a minimum of the 24h tide. The observed variability of tides and gravity waves on timescales of a few days clearly demonstrates the importance of continuous measurements with high temporal and spatial resolution to detect interaction phenomena, which can help to improve parametrization schemes of GWs in general circulation models.

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Gravity waves (GWs) as well as solar tides are a key driving mechanism for the circulation in the Earth's atmosphere. The temporal variation of these waves is studied using a record long 10-day continuous Rayleigh–Mie–Raman lidar sounding at midlatitudes. This data set shows a large variability of these waves on timescales of a few days and therefore provides new insights into wave intermittency phenomena, which can help to improve model simulations.
Gravity waves (GWs) as well as solar tides are a key driving mechanism for the circulation in...
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