## Abstract

A spectral parameterization of mean-flow forcing due to breaking gravity waves is described for application in the equations of motion in atmospheric models. The parameterization is based on linear theory and adheres closely to fundamental principles of conservation of wave action flux, linear stability, and wave–mean-flow interaction. Because the details of wave breakdown and nonlinear interactions are known to be very complex and are still poorly understood, only the simplest possible assumption is made: that the momentum fluxes carried by the waves are deposited locally and entirely at the altitude of linear wave breaking. This simple assumption allows a straightforward mapping of the momentum flux spectrum, input at a specified source altitude, into vertical profiles of mean-flow force. A coefficient of eddy diffusion can also be estimated. The parameterization can be used with any desired input spectrum of momentum flux. The results are sensitive to the details of this spectrum and also realistically sensitive to the background vertical shear and stability profiles. These sensitivities make the parameterization ideally suited for studying both the effects of gravity waves from unique sources like topography and convection as well as generalized broad input spectra. Existing constraints on input parameters are also summarized from the available observations. With these constraints, the parameterization generates realistic variations in gravity-wave-driven, mean-flow forcing.

*Corresponding author address:* Dr. M. Joan Alexander, Colorado Research Associates, 3380 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301.