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Stephen D. Eckermann, James D. Doyle, P. Alex Reinecke, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Ronald B. Smith, David C. Fritts, and Andreas Dörnbrack

Abstract

Gravity wave perturbations in 15-μm nadir radiances from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) informed scientific flight planning for the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE). AIRS observations from 2003 to 2011 identified the South Island of New Zealand during June–July as a “natural laboratory” for observing deep-propagating gravity wave dynamics. Near-real-time AIRS and CrIS gravity wave products monitored wave activity in and around New Zealand continuously within 10 regions of scientific interest, providing nowcast guidance and validation for flight planners. A novel technique used these gravity wave products to validate upstream forecasts of nonorographic gravity waves with 1–2-day lead times, providing time to plan flight intercepts as tropospheric westerlies brought forecast source regions into range. Postanalysis verifies the choice of 15 μm radiances for nowcasting, since 4.3-μm gravity wave products yielded spurious diurnal cycles, provided no altitude sensitivity, and proved relatively insensitive to deep gravity wave activity over the South Island. Comparisons of DEEPWAVE flight tracks with AIRS and CrIS gravity wave maps highlight successful repeated vectoring of the aircraft into regions of deep orographic and nonorographic gravity wave activity, and how background winds control the amplitude of waves in radiance perturbation maps. We discuss how gravity wave information in AIRS and CrIS radiances might be directly assimilated into future operational forecasting systems.

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