Sources of Mesoscale Variability of Gravity Waves. Part II: Frontal, Convective, and Jet Stream Excitation

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  • 1 Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska
  • | 2 Department of Earth Sciences, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota
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Abstract

We present studies of four cases of mesoscale variance enhancements of horizontal velocity and temperature due to frontal activity, nonfrontal convection, and wind shear. These data were obtained aboard commercial aircraft during the Global Atmospheric Sampling Program (GASP) in 1978 and 1979 and from the corresponding meteorological analyses and satellite imagery. Additional GASP data were used to permit a statistical assessment of the importance of various sources of enhanced variances. Our results, and those in a companion paper addressing the variance enhancements associated with topography, represent refinements of previous source analyses using the GASP dataset. Significant findings include mean variance enhancements of velocity and temperature due to convection and jet-stream flow ranging from ∼2 to 8 for 64-km and 256-km data segments, and enhancements for individual segments as high as ∼20 to 100. The mean 64-km variance enhancement for all variables and source types, relative to a quiescent background, was estimated to be 6.1. These results suggest a major role for localized sources in energizing the mesoscale motion spectrum at horizontal scales < ∼100 km, and correspondingly greater influences for such motions at greater heights.

Abstract

We present studies of four cases of mesoscale variance enhancements of horizontal velocity and temperature due to frontal activity, nonfrontal convection, and wind shear. These data were obtained aboard commercial aircraft during the Global Atmospheric Sampling Program (GASP) in 1978 and 1979 and from the corresponding meteorological analyses and satellite imagery. Additional GASP data were used to permit a statistical assessment of the importance of various sources of enhanced variances. Our results, and those in a companion paper addressing the variance enhancements associated with topography, represent refinements of previous source analyses using the GASP dataset. Significant findings include mean variance enhancements of velocity and temperature due to convection and jet-stream flow ranging from ∼2 to 8 for 64-km and 256-km data segments, and enhancements for individual segments as high as ∼20 to 100. The mean 64-km variance enhancement for all variables and source types, relative to a quiescent background, was estimated to be 6.1. These results suggest a major role for localized sources in energizing the mesoscale motion spectrum at horizontal scales < ∼100 km, and correspondingly greater influences for such motions at greater heights.

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