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Christopher G. Kruse, M. Joan Alexander, Lars Hoffmann, Annelize van Niekerk, Inna Polichtchouk, Julio T. Bacmeister, Laura Holt, Riwal Plougonven, Petr Šácha, Corwin Wright, Kaoru Sato, Ryosuke Shibuya, Sonja Gisinger, Manfred Ern, Catrin I. Meyer, and Olaf Stein

Abstract

Four state-of-the-science numerical weather prediction (NWP) models were used to perform mountain wave (MW)-resolving hindcasts over the Drake Passage of a 10-day period in 2010 with numerous observed MW cases. The Integrated Forecast System (IFS) and the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic (ICON) model were run at Δx ≈ 9 and 13 km globally. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and the Met Office Unified Model (UM) were both configured with a Δx = 3-km regional domain. All domains had tops near 1 Pa (z ≈ 80 km). These deep domains allowed quantitative validation against Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) observations, accounting for observation time, viewing geometry, and radiative transfer. All models reproduced observed middle-atmosphere MWs with remarkable skill. Increased horizontal resolution improved validations. Still, all models underrepresented observed MW amplitudes, even after accounting for model effective resolution and instrument noise, suggesting even at Δx ≈ 3-km resolution, small-scale MWs are underresolved and/or overdiffused. MW drag parameterizations are still necessary in NWP models at current operational resolutions of Δx ≈ 10 km. Upper GW sponge layers in the operationally configured models significantly, artificially reduced MW amplitudes in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. In the IFS, parameterized GW drags partly compensated this deficiency, but still, total drags were ≈6 times smaller than that resolved at Δx ≈ 3 km. Meridionally propagating MWs significantly enhance zonal drag over the Drake Passage. Interestingly, drag associated with meridional fluxes of zonal momentum (i.e., uυ¯) were important; not accounting for these terms results in a drag in the wrong direction at and below the polar night jet.

Significance Statement

This study had three purposes: to quantitatively evaluate how well four state-of-the-science weather models could reproduce observed mountain waves (MWs) in the middle atmosphere, to compare the simulated MWs within the models, and to quantitatively evaluate two MW parameterizations in a widely used climate model. These models reproduced observed MWs with remarkable skill. Still, MW parameterizations are necessary in current Δx ≈ 10-km resolution global weather models. Even Δx ≈ 3-km resolution does not appear to be high enough to represent all momentum-fluxing MW scales. Meridionally propagating MWs can significantly influence zonal winds over the Drake Passage. Parameterizations that handle horizontal propagation may need to consider horizontal fluxes of horizontal momentum in order to get the direction of their forcing correct.

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Fabienne Schmid, Elena Gagarina, Rupert Klein, and Ulrich Achatz

Abstract

Idealized integral studies of the dynamics of atmospheric inertia–gravity waves (IGWs) from their sources in the troposphere (e.g., by spontaneous emission from jets and fronts) to dissipation and mean flow effects at higher altitudes could contribute to a better treatment of these processes in IGW parameterizations in numerical weather prediction and climate simulation. It seems important that numerical codes applied for this purpose are efficient and focus on the essentials. Therefore, a previously published staggered-grid solver for f-plane soundproof pseudoincompressible dynamics is extended here by two main components. These are 1) a semi-implicit time stepping scheme for the integration of buoyancy and Coriolis effects, and 2) the incorporation of Newtonian heating consistent with pseudoincompressible dynamics. This heating function is used to enforce a temperature profile that is baroclinically unstable in the troposphere and it allows the background state to vary in time. Numerical experiments for several benchmarks are compared against a buoyancy/Coriolis-explicit third-order Runge–Kutta scheme, verifying the accuracy and efficiency of the scheme. Preliminary mesoscale simulations with baroclinic wave activity in the troposphere show intensive small-scale wave activity at high altitudes, and they also indicate there the expected reversal of the zonal-mean zonal winds.

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Victor C. Mayta and Ángel F. Adames

Abstract

The dynamical and thermodynamical features of Amazonian 2-day westward-propagating inertia–gravity (WIG) waves are examined. On the basis of a linear regression analysis of satellite brightness temperature and data from the 2014–15 Observations and Modeling of the Green Ocean Amazon (GoAmazon) field campaign, it is shown that Amazonian WIG waves exhibit structure and propagation characteristics consistent with the n = 1 WIG waves from shallow water theory. These WIG waves exhibit a pronounced seasonality, with peak activity occurring from March to May and a minimum occurring from June to September. Evidence is shown that mesoscale convective systems over the Amazon are frequently organized in 2-day WIG waves. Results suggest that many of the Amazonian WIG waves come from preexisting 2-day waves over the Atlantic, which slow down when coupled with the deeper, more intense convection over tropical South America. In contrast to WIG waves that occur over the ocean, Amazonian 2-day WIG waves exhibit a pronounced signature in surface temperature, moisture, and heat fluxes.

Open access
Andreas Dörnbrack

Abstract

Planetary waves disturbed the hitherto stable Arctic stratospheric polar vortex in the middle of January 2016 in such a way that unique tropospheric and stratospheric flow conditions for vertically and horizontally propagating mountain waves developed. Coexisting strong low-level westerly winds across almost all European mountain ranges plus the almost zonally aligned polar-front jet created these favorable conditions for deeply propagating gravity waves. Furthermore, the northward displacement of the polar night jet resulted in a widespread coverage of stratospheric mountain waves trailing across Northern Europe. This paper describes the particular meteorological setting by analyzing the tropospheric and stratospheric flows based on the ERA5 data. The potential of the flow for exciting internal gravity waves from nonorographic sources is evaluated across all altitudes by considering various indices to indicate flow imbalances as δ, Ro, Roζ, Ro, and ΔNBE. The analyzed gravity waves are described and characterized. The main finding of this case study is the exceptionally vast extension of the mountain waves trailing to high latitudes originating from the flow across the mountainous sources that are located at about 45°N. The magnitudes of the simulated stratospheric temperature perturbations attain values larger than 10 K and are comparable to values as documented by recent case studies of large-amplitude mountain waves over South America. The zonal means of the resolved and parameterized stratospheric wave drag during the mountain wave event peak at −4.5 and −32.2 m s−1 day−1, respectively.

Open access
Tyler Mixa, Andreas Dörnbrack, and Markus Rapp

Abstract

Horizontally dispersing gravity waves with horizontal wavelengths of 30–40 km were observed at mesospheric altitudes over Auckland Island by the airborne advanced mesospheric temperature mapper during a Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) research flight on 14 July 2014. A 3D nonlinear compressible model is used to determine which propagation conditions enabled gravity wave penetration into the mesosphere and how the resulting instability characteristics led to widespread momentum deposition. Results indicate that linear tunneling through the polar night jet enabled quick gravity wave propagation from the surface up to the mesopause, while subsequent instability processes reveal large rolls that formed in the negative shear above the jet maximum and led to significant momentum deposition as they descended. This study suggests that gravity wave tunneling is a viable source for this case and other deep propagation events reaching the mesosphere and lower thermosphere.

Open access
Markus Rapp, Bernd Kaifler, Andreas Dörnbrack, Sonja Gisinger, Tyler Mixa, Robert Reichert, Natalie Kaifler, Stefanie Knobloch, Ramona Eckert, Norman Wildmann, Andreas Giez, Lukas Krasauskas, Peter Preusse, Markus Geldenhuys, Martin Riese, Wolfgang Woiwode, Felix Friedl-Vallon, Björn-Martin Sinnhuber, Alejandro de la Torre, Peter Alexander, Jose Luis Hormaechea, Diego Janches, Markus Garhammer, Jorge L. Chau, J. Federico Conte, Peter Hoor, and Andreas Engel

Abstract

The southern part of South America and the Antarctic peninsula are known as the world’s strongest hotspot region of stratospheric gravity wave (GW) activity. Large tropospheric winds are deflected by the Andes and the Antarctic Peninsula and excite GWs that might propagate into the upper mesosphere. Satellite observations show large stratospheric GW activity above the mountains, the Drake Passage, and in a belt centered along 60°S. This scientifically highly interesting region for studying GW dynamics was the focus of the Southern Hemisphere Transport, Dynamics, and Chemistry–Gravity Waves (SOUTHTRAC-GW) mission. The German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO) was deployed to Rio Grande at the southern tip of Argentina in September 2019. Seven dedicated research flights with a typical length of 7,000 km were conducted to collect GW observations with the novel Airborne Lidar for Middle Atmosphere research (ALIMA) instrument and the Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere (GLORIA) limb sounder. While ALIMA measures temperatures in the altitude range from 20 to 90 km, GLORIA observations allow characterization of temperatures and trace gas mixing ratios from 5 to 15 km. Wave perturbations are derived by subtracting suitable mean profiles. This paper summarizes the motivations and objectives of the SOUTHTRAC-GW mission. The evolution of the atmospheric conditions is documented including the effect of the extraordinary Southern Hemisphere sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) that occurred in early September 2019. Moreover, outstanding initial results of the GW observation and plans for future work are presented.

Open access
Mozhgan Amiramjadi, Ali R. Mohebalhojeh, Mohammad Mirzaei, Christoph Zülicke, and Riwal Plougonven

Abstract

The way the large-scale flow determines the energy of the nonorographic mesoscale inertia–gravity waves (IGWs) is theoretically significant and practically useful for source parameterization of IGWs. The relations previously developed on the f plane for tropospheric sources of IGWs including jets, fronts, and convection in terms of associated secondary circulations strength are generalized for application over the globe. A low-pass spatial filter with a cutoff zonal wavenumber of 22 is applied to separate the large-scale flow from the IGWs using the ERA5 data of ECMWF for the period 2016–19. A comparison with GRACILE data based on satellite observations of the middle stratosphere shows reasonable representation of IGWs in the ERA5 data despite underestimates by a factor of smaller than 3. The sum of the energies, which are mass-weighted integrals in the troposphere from the surface to 100 hPa, as given by the generalized relations is termed initial parameterized energy. The corresponding energy integral for the IGWs is termed the diagnosed energy. The connection between the parameterized and diagnosed IGW energies is explored with regression analysis for each season and six oceanic domains distributed over the globe covering the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and the tropics. While capturing the seasonal cycle, the domain area-average seasonal mean initial parameterized energy is weaker than the diagnosed energy by a factor of 3. The best performance in regression analysis is obtained by using a combination of power and exponential functions, which suggests evidence of exponential weakness.

Full access
Mahnoosh Haghighatnasab, Mohammad Mirzaei, Ali R. Mohebalhojeh, Christoph Zülicke, and Riwal Plougonven

Abstract

The parameterization of inertia–gravity waves (IGWs) is of considerable importance in general circulation models. Among the challenging issues faced in studies concerned with parameterization of IGWs is the estimation of diabatic forcing in a way independent of the physics parameterization schemes, in particular, convection. The requirement is to estimate the diabatic heating associated with balanced motion. This can be done by comparing estimates of balanced vertical motion with and without diabatic effects. The omega equation provides the natural method of estimating balanced vertical motion without diabatic effects, and several methods for including diabatic effects are compared. To this end, the assumption of spatial-scale separation between IGWs and balanced flows is combined with a suitable form of the balanced omega equation. To test the methods constructed for estimating diabatic heating, an idealized numerical simulation of the moist baroclinic waves is performed using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model in a channel on the f plane. In overall agreement with the diabatic heating of the WRF Model, in the omega-equation-based estimates, the maxima of heating appear in the warm sector of the baroclinic wave and in the exit region of the upper-level jet. The omega-equation-based method with spatial smoothing for estimating balanced vertical motion is thus presented as the proper way to evaluate diabatic forcing for parameterization of IGWs.

Free access
Mark Schlutow

Abstract

Stationary gravity waves, such as mountain lee waves, are effectively described by Grimshaw’s dissipative modulation equations even in high altitudes where they become nonlinear due to their large amplitudes. In this theoretical study, a wave-Reynolds number is introduced to characterize general solutions to these modulation equations. This nondimensional number relates the vertical linear group velocity with wavenumber, pressure scale height, and kinematic molecular/eddy viscosity. It is demonstrated by analytic and numerical methods that Lindzen-type waves in the saturation region, that is, where the wave-Reynolds number is of order unity, destabilize by transient perturbations. It is proposed that this mechanism may be a generator for secondary waves due to direct wave–mean-flow interaction. By assumption, the primary waves are exactly such that altitudinal amplitude growth and viscous damping are balanced and by that the amplitude is maximized. Implications of these results on the relation between mean-flow acceleration and wave breaking heights are discussed.

Free access
Junhong Wei, Gergely Bölöni, and Ulrich Achatz

Abstract

This paper compares two different approaches for the efficient modeling of subgrid-scale inertia–gravity waves in a rotating compressible atmosphere. The first approach, denoted as the pseudomomentum scheme, exploits the fact that in a Lagrangian-mean reference frame the response of a large-scale flow can only be due to forcing momentum. Present-day gravity wave parameterizations follow this route. They do so, however, in an Eulerian-mean formulation. Transformation to that reference frame leads, under certain assumptions, to pseudomomentum-flux convergence by which the momentum is to be forced. It can be shown that this approach is justified if the large-scale flow is in geostrophic and hydrostatic balance. Otherwise, elastic and thermal effects might be lost. In the second approach, called the direct scheme and not relying on such assumptions, the large-scale flow is forced both in the momentum equation, by anelastic momentum-flux convergence and an additional elastic term, and in the entropy equation, via entropy-flux convergence. A budget analysis based on one-dimensional wave packets suggests that the comparison between the abovementioned two schemes should be sensitive to the following two parameters: 1) the intrinsic frequency and 2) the wave packet scale. The smaller the intrinsic frequency is, the greater their differences are. More importantly, with high-resolution wave-resolving simulations as a reference, this study shows conclusive evidence that the direct scheme is more reliable than the pseudomomentum scheme, regardless of whether one-dimensional or two-dimensional wave packets are considered. In addition, sensitivity experiments are performed to further investigate the relative importance of each term in the direct scheme, as well as the wave–mean flow interactions during the wave propagation.

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