Investigation of a Complex Mountain Wave Situation

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  • a Atmospheric Sciences Office, White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.
  • | b University of California at Los Angeles
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Abstract

A complex mountain lee wave was recorded by radar-tracked superpressure balloons at White Sands Missile Range on 6 May 1965 at a mean altitude of 3.5 km MSL; simultaneously, a very weak wave was recorded at 7 km. The lower complex wave showed variable wavelengths, amplitudes, and increasing vertical velocities with time.

Several of the better existing mountain wave theories were tested against the data to determine which theory or theories, if any, could explain the physical cause of the particular features of the complex wave.

It was found that existing theoretical models are too simplified to apply to the condition in the observed wave and explain only its grosser features. If our understanding of gravity waves is to be adequate to explain quantitatively what we are capable of observing quantitatively, we must begin the anlysis of more realistic models or turn to numerical integration of the relevant equations.

Abstract

A complex mountain lee wave was recorded by radar-tracked superpressure balloons at White Sands Missile Range on 6 May 1965 at a mean altitude of 3.5 km MSL; simultaneously, a very weak wave was recorded at 7 km. The lower complex wave showed variable wavelengths, amplitudes, and increasing vertical velocities with time.

Several of the better existing mountain wave theories were tested against the data to determine which theory or theories, if any, could explain the physical cause of the particular features of the complex wave.

It was found that existing theoretical models are too simplified to apply to the condition in the observed wave and explain only its grosser features. If our understanding of gravity waves is to be adequate to explain quantitatively what we are capable of observing quantitatively, we must begin the anlysis of more realistic models or turn to numerical integration of the relevant equations.

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