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Nonlinear Simulations of Gravity Wave Tunneling and Breaking over Auckland Island

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
Benjamin Witschas, Stephan Rahm, Andreas Dörnbrack, Johannes Wagner, and Markus Rapp

Abstract

Airborne coherent Doppler wind lidar measurements, acquired during the Gravity Wave Life-Cycle (GW-LCYCLE) I field campaign performed from 2 to 14 December 2013 in Kiruna, Sweden, are used to investigate internal gravity waves (GWs) induced by flow across the Scandinavian Mountains. Vertical wind speed is derived from lidar measurements with a mean bias of less than 0.05 m s−1 and a standard deviation of 0.2 m s−1 by correcting horizontal wind projections onto the line-of-sight direction by means of ECMWF wind data. The horizontal wind speed and direction are retrieved from lidar measurements by applying a velocity–azimuth display scan and a spectral accumulation technique, leading to a horizontal resolution of about 9 km along the flight track and a vertical resolution of 100 m, respectively. Both vertical and horizontal wind measurements are valuable for characterizing GW properties as demonstrated by means of a flight performed on 13 December 2013 acquired during weather conditions favorable for orographic GW excitation. Wavelet power spectra of the vertical wind speed indicate that the horizontal GW wavelengths lay mainly between 10 and 30 km and that the GW amplitude above the mountain ridge decreases with increasing altitude. Additionally, the perturbations of the horizontal wind speed are analyzed, showing horizontal wavelengths in the excitation region of 100–125 km with upwind-tilted wave fronts. By means of elevation power spectra, it is revealed that vertical wind power spectra are dominated by the short-wave elevation part, whereas horizontal wind perturbations are dominated by the long-wave part.

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Benedikt Ehard, Peggy Achtert, Andreas Dörnbrack, Sonja Gisinger, Jörg Gumbel, Mikhail Khaplanov, Markus Rapp, and Johannes Wagner

Abstract

The paper presents a feasible method to complement ground-based middle atmospheric Rayleigh lidar temperature observations with numerical simulations in the lower stratosphere and troposphere to study gravity waves. Validated mesoscale numerical simulations are utilized to complement the temperature below 30-km altitude. For this purpose, high-temporal-resolution output of the numerical results was interpolated on the position of the lidar in the lee of the Scandinavian mountain range. Two wintertime cases of orographically induced gravity waves are analyzed. Wave parameters are derived using a wavelet analysis of the combined dataset throughout the entire altitude range from the troposphere to the mesosphere. Although similar in the tropospheric forcings, both cases differ in vertical propagation. The combined dataset reveals stratospheric wave breaking for one case, whereas the mountain waves in the other case could propagate up to about 40-km altitude. The lidar observations reveal an interaction of the vertically propagating gravity waves with the stratopause, leading to a stratopause descent in both cases.

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Norman Wildmann, Ramona Eckert, Andreas Dörnbrack, Sonja Gisinger, Markus Rapp, Klaus Ohlmann, and Annelize van Niekerk

Abstract

A Stemme S10-VT motor glider was equipped with a newly developed sensor suite consisting of a five-hole probe, an inertial navigation and global navigation satellite system, two temperature sensors, and a humidity sensor. By design, the system provides three-dimensional wind vector data that enable the analysis of atmospheric motion scales up to a temporal resolution of 10 Hz. We give a description of components and installation of the system, its calibration, and its performance. The accuracy for the measurement of the wind vector is estimated to be on the order of 0.5 m s−1. As part of the Southern Hemisphere Transport, Dynamics, and Chemistry (SouthTRAC) field campaign, 30 research flights were performed from September 2019 to January 2020. We present statistical analysis of the observations, discriminating pure motor flights from soaring flights in the lee waves of the Andes. We present histograms of flight altitude, airspeed, wind speed and direction, temperature, and relative humidity to document the atmospheric conditions. Probability density functions of vertical air velocity, turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), and dissipation rate complete the statistical analysis. Altogether, 41% of the flights are in weak, 14% in moderate, and 0.4% in strong mountain wave conditions according to thresholds for the measured vertical air velocity. As an exemplary case study, we compare measurements on 11 September 2019 to a high-resolution numerical weather prediction model. The case study provides a meaningful example of how data from soaring flights might be utilized for model validation on the mesoscale and within the troposphere.

Open access
Tanja C. Portele, Andreas Dörnbrack, Johannes S. Wagner, Sonja Gisinger, Benedikt Ehard, Pierre-Dominique Pautet, and Markus Rapp

Abstract

The impact of transient tropospheric forcing on the deep vertical mountain-wave propagation is investigated by a unique combination of in situ and remote sensing observations and numerical modeling. The temporal evolution of the upstream low-level wind follows approximately a shape and was controlled by a migrating trough and connected fronts. Our case study reveals the importance of the time-varying propagation conditions in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). Upper-tropospheric stability, the wind profile, and the tropopause strength affected the observed and simulated wave response in the UTLS. Leg-integrated along-track momentum fluxes () and amplitudes of vertical displacements of air parcels in the UTLS reached up to 130 kN m−1 and 1500 m, respectively. Their maxima were phase shifted to the maximum low-level forcing by ≈8 h. Small-scale waves ( km) were continuously forced, and their flux values depended on wave attenuation by breaking and reflection in the UTLS region. Only maximum flow over the envelope of the mountain range favored the excitation of longer waves that propagated deeply into the mesosphere. Their long propagation time caused a retarded enhancement of observed mesospheric gravity wave activity about 12–15 h after their observation in the UTLS. For the UTLS, we further compared observed and simulated with fluxes of 2D quasi-steady runs. UTLS momentum fluxes seem to be reproducible by individual quasi-steady 2D runs, except for the flux enhancement during the early decelerating forcing phase.

Full access
Sonja Gisinger, Andreas Dörnbrack, Vivien Matthias, James D. Doyle, Stephen D. Eckermann, Benedikt Ehard, Lars Hoffmann, Bernd Kaifler, Christopher G. Kruse, and Markus Rapp

Abstract

This paper describes the results of a comprehensive analysis of the atmospheric conditions during the Deep Propagating Gravity Wave Experiment (DEEPWAVE) campaign in austral winter 2014. Different datasets and diagnostics are combined to characterize the background atmosphere from the troposphere to the upper mesosphere. How weather regimes and the atmospheric state compare to climatological conditions is reported upon and how they relate to the airborne and ground-based gravity wave observations is also explored. Key results of this study are the dominance of tropospheric blocking situations and low-level southwesterly flows over New Zealand during June–August 2014. A varying tropopause inversion layer was found to be connected to varying vertical energy fluxes and is, therefore, an important feature with respect to wave reflection. The subtropical jet was frequently diverted south from its climatological position at 30°S and was most often involved in strong forcing events of mountain waves at the Southern Alps. The polar front jet was typically responsible for moderate and weak tropospheric forcing of mountain waves. The stratospheric planetary wave activity amplified in July leading to a displacement of the Antarctic polar vortex. This reduced the stratospheric wind minimum by about 10 m s−1 above New Zealand making breaking of large-amplitude gravity waves more likely. Satellite observations in the upper stratosphere revealed that orographic gravity wave variances for 2014 were largest in May–July (i.e., the period of the DEEPWAVE field phase).

Full 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
Hermann Oelhaf, Björn-Martin Sinnhuber, Wolfgang Woiwode, Harald Bönisch, Heiko Bozem, Andreas Engel, Andreas Fix, Felix Friedl-Vallon, Jens-Uwe Grooß, Peter Hoor, Sören Johansson, Tina Jurkat-Witschas, Stefan Kaufmann, Martina Krämer, Jens Krause, Erik Kretschmer, Dominique Lörks, Andreas Marsing, Johannes Orphal, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Michael Pitts, Lamont Poole, Peter Preusse, Markus Rapp, Martin Riese, Christian Rolf, Jörn Ungermann, Christiane Voigt, C. Michael Volk, Martin Wirth, Andreas Zahn, and Helmut Ziereis

Abstract

The Polar Stratosphere in a Changing Climate (POLSTRACC) mission employed the German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO). The payload comprised an innovative combination of remote sensing and in situ instruments. The in situ instruments provided high-resolution observations of cirrus and polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs), a large number of reactive and long-lived trace gases, and temperature at the aircraft level. Information above and underneath the aircraft level was achieved by remote sensing instruments as well as dropsondes. The mission took place from 8 December 2015 to 18 March 2016, covering the extremely cold late December to early February period and the time around the major warming in the beginning of March. In 18 scientific deployments, 156 flight hours were conducted, covering latitudes from 25° to 87°N and maximum altitudes of almost 15 km, and reaching potential temperature levels of up to 410 K. Highlights of results include 1) new aspects of transport and mixing in the Arctic upper troposphere–lower stratosphere (UTLS), 2) detailed analyses of special dynamical features such as tropopause folds, 3) observations of extended PSCs reaching sometimes down to HALO flight levels at 13–14 km, 4) observations of particulate NOy and vertical redistribution of gas-phase NOy in the lowermost stratosphere (LMS), 5) significant chlorine activation and deactivation in the LMS along with halogen source gas observations, and 6) the partitioning and budgets of reactive chlorine and bromine along with a detailed study of the efficiency of ClOx/BrOx ozone loss cycle. Finally, we quantify—based on our results—the ozone loss in the 2015/16 winter and address the question of how extraordinary this Arctic winter was.

Free access
Bjorn Stevens, Felix Ament, Sandrine Bony, Susanne Crewell, Florian Ewald, Silke Gross, Akio Hansen, Lutz Hirsch, Marek Jacob, Tobias Kölling, Heike Konow, Bernhard Mayer, Manfred Wendisch, Martin Wirth, Kevin Wolf, Stephan Bakan, Matthias Bauer-Pfundstein, Matthias Brueck, Julien Delanoë, André Ehrlich, David Farrell, Marvin Forde, Felix Gödde, Hans Grob, Martin Hagen, Evelyn Jäkel, Friedhelm Jansen, Christian Klepp, Marcus Klingebiel, Mario Mech, Gerhard Peters, Markus Rapp, Allison A. Wing, and Tobias Zinner

Abstract

A configuration of the High-Altitude Long-Range Research Aircraft (HALO) as a remote sensing cloud observatory is described, and its use is illustrated with results from the first and second Next-Generation Aircraft Remote Sensing for Validation (NARVAL) field studies. Measurements from the second NARVAL (NARVAL2) are used to highlight the ability of HALO, when configured in this fashion, to characterize not only the distribution of water condensate in the atmosphere, but also its impact on radiant energy transfer and the covarying large-scale meteorological conditions—including the large-scale velocity field and its vertical component. The NARVAL campaigns with HALO demonstrate the potential of airborne cloud observatories to address long-standing riddles in studies of the coupling between clouds and circulation and are helping to motivate a new generation of field studies.

Open access
Andreas Schäfler, George Craig, Heini Wernli, Philippe Arbogast, James D. Doyle, Ron McTaggart-Cowan, John Methven, Gwendal Rivière, Felix Ament, Maxi Boettcher, Martina Bramberger, Quitterie Cazenave, Richard Cotton, Susanne Crewell, Julien Delanoë, Andreas Dörnbrack, André Ehrlich, Florian Ewald, Andreas Fix, Christian M. Grams, Suzanne L. Gray, Hans Grob, Silke Groß, Martin Hagen, Ben Harvey, Lutz Hirsch, Marek Jacob, Tobias Kölling, Heike Konow, Christian Lemmerz, Oliver Lux, Linus Magnusson, Bernhard Mayer, Mario Mech, Richard Moore, Jacques Pelon, Julian Quinting, Stephan Rahm, Markus Rapp, Marc Rautenhaus, Oliver Reitebuch, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Harald Sodemann, Thomas Spengler, Geraint Vaughan, Manfred Wendisch, Martin Wirth, Benjamin Witschas, Kevin Wolf, and Tobias Zinner

Abstract

The North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment (NAWDEX) explored the impact of diabatic processes on disturbances of the jet stream and their influence on downstream high-impact weather through the deployment of four research aircraft, each with a sophisticated set of remote sensing and in situ instruments, and coordinated with a suite of ground-based measurements. A total of 49 research flights were performed, including, for the first time, coordinated flights of the four aircraft: the German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO), the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) Dassault Falcon 20, the French Service des Avions Français Instrumentés pour la Recherche en Environnement (SAFIRE) Falcon 20, and the British Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe 146. The observation period from 17 September to 22 October 2016 with frequently occurring extratropical and tropical cyclones was ideal for investigating midlatitude weather over the North Atlantic. NAWDEX featured three sequences of upstream triggers of waveguide disturbances, as well as their dynamic interaction with the jet stream, subsequent development, and eventual downstream weather impact on Europe. Examples are presented to highlight the wealth of phenomena that were sampled, the comprehensive coverage, and the multifaceted nature of the measurements. This unique dataset forms the basis for future case studies and detailed evaluations of weather and climate predictions to improve our understanding of diabatic influences on Rossby waves and the downstream impacts of weather systems affecting Europe.

Open access