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Albert Hertzog
Gillian Boccara
Robert A. Vincent
François Vial
, and
Philippe Cocquerez


The stratospheric gravity wave field in the Southern Hemisphere is investigated by analyzing observations collected by 27 long-duration balloons that flew between September 2005 and February 2006 over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The analysis is based on the methods introduced by Boccara et al. in a companion paper. Special attention is given to deriving information useful to gravity wave drag parameterizations employed in atmospheric general circulation models. The balloon dataset is used to map the geographic variability of gravity wave momentum fluxes in the lower stratosphere. This flux distribution is found to be very heterogeneous with the largest time-averaged value (28 mPa) observed above the Antarctic Peninsula. This value exceeds by a factor of ∼10 the overall mean momentum flux measured during the balloon campaign. Zonal momentum fluxes were predominantly westward, whereas meridional momentum fluxes were equally northward and southward. A local enhancement of southward flux is nevertheless observed above Adélie Land and is attributed to waves generated by katabatic winds, for which the signature is otherwise rather small in the balloon observations. When zonal averages are performed, oceanic momentum fluxes are found to be of similar magnitude to continental values (2.5–3 mPa), stressing the importance of nonorographic gravity waves over oceans. Last, gravity wave intermittency is investigated. Mountain waves appear to be significantly more sporadic than waves observed above the ocean.

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