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  • DEEPWAVE: The Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment x
  • Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences x
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Ronald B. Smith
,
Alison D. Nugent
,
Christopher G. Kruse
,
David C. Fritts
,
James D. Doyle
,
Steven D. Eckermann
,
Michael J. Taylor
,
Andreas Dörnbrack
,
M. Uddstrom
,
William Cooper
,
Pavel Romashkin
,
Jorgen Jensen
, and
Stuart Beaton

Abstract

During the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) project in June and July 2014, the Gulfstream V research aircraft flew 97 legs over the Southern Alps of New Zealand and 150 legs over the Tasman Sea and Southern Ocean, mostly in the low stratosphere at 12.1-km altitude. Improved instrument calibration, redundant sensors, longer flight legs, energy flux estimation, and scale analysis revealed several new gravity wave properties. Over the sea, flight-level wave fluxes mostly fell below the detection threshold. Over terrain, disturbances had characteristic mountain wave attributes of positive vertical energy flux (EF z ), negative zonal momentum flux, and upwind horizontal energy flux. In some cases, the fluxes changed rapidly within an 8-h flight, even though environmental conditions were nearly unchanged. The largest observed zonal momentum and vertical energy fluxes were MF x = −550 mPa and EF z = 22 W m−2, respectively.

A wide variety of disturbance scales were found at flight level over New Zealand. The vertical wind variance at flight level was dominated by short “fluxless” waves with wavelengths in the 6–15-km range. Even shorter scales, down to 500 m, were found in wave breaking regions. The wavelength of the flux-carrying mountain waves was much longer—mostly between 60 and 150 km. In the strong cases, however, with EF z > 4 W m−2, the dominant flux wavelength decreased (i.e., “downshifted”) to an intermediate wavelength between 20 and 60 km. A potential explanation for the rapid flux changes and the scale “downshifting” is that low-level flow can shift between “terrain following” and “envelope following” associated with trapped air in steep New Zealand valleys.

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Christopher G. Kruse
and
Ronald B. Smith

Abstract

As numerical models of complex atmospheric flows increase their quality and resolution, it becomes valuable to isolate and quantify the embedded resolved gravity waves. The authors propose a spatial filtering method combined with a selection of quadratic diagnostic quantities such as heat, momentum, and energy fluxes to do this. These covariant quantities were found to be insensitive to filter cutoff length scales between 300 and 700 km, suggesting the existence of a “cospectral gap.” The gravity waves identified with the proposed method display known properties from idealized studies, including vertical propagation, upwind propagation, the relationship between momentum and energy flux, and agreement with fluxes derived from an alternative method involving simulations with and without terrain. The proposed method is applied to 2- and 6-km-resolution realistic WRF simulations of orographic and nonorographic gravity waves over and around New Zealand within complex frontal cyclones. Deep mountain wave, shallow mountain wave, jet-generated gravity wave, and convection-generated gravity wave events were chosen for analysis. The four wave events shared the characteristics of positive vertical energy flux, negative zonal momentum flux, and upwind horizontal energy flux. Two of the gravity wave events were dissipated nonlinearly.

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