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Atmosphere 2017, 8(2), 27; doi:10.3390/atmos8020027

Role of Wind Filtering and Unbalanced Flow Generation in Middle Atmosphere Gravity Wave Activity at Chatanika Alaska

1
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
2
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
3
Department of Physics, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT 84805, USA
4
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
5
Applied Electromagnetic Research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8795, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 26 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Gravity Waves)
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Abstract

The meteorological control of gravity wave activity through filtering by winds and generation by spontaneous adjustment of unbalanced flows is investigated. This investigation is based on a new analysis of Rayleigh LiDAR measurements of gravity wave activity in the upper stratosphere-lower mesosphere (USLM,40–50km)on 152 nights at Poker Flat Research Range (PFRR), Chatanika, Alaska (65◦ N, 147◦ W), over 13 years between 1998 and 2014. The LiDAR measurements resolve inertia-gravity waves with observed periods between 1 h and 4 h and vertical wavelengths between 2 km and 10 km. The meteorological conditions are defined by reanalysis data from the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA). The gravity wave activity shows large night-to-night variability, but a clear annual cycle with a maximum in winter,and systematic interannual variability associated with stratospheric sudden warming events. The USLM gravity wave activity is correlated with the MERRA winds and is controlled by the winds in the lower stratosphere through filtering by critical layer filtering. The USLM gravity wave activity is also correlated with MERRA unbalanced flow as characterized by the residual of the nonlinear balance equation. This correlation with unbalanced flow only appears when the wind conditions are taken into account, indicating that wind filtering is the primary control of the gravity wave activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: gravity wave generation; gravity wave propagation; critical layer filtering; ageostrophic adjustment; stratospheric sudden warming (SSW); Rayleigh LiDAR gravity wave generation; gravity wave propagation; critical layer filtering; ageostrophic adjustment; stratospheric sudden warming (SSW); Rayleigh LiDAR
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Triplett, C.C.; Collins, R.L.; Nielsen, K.; Harvey, V.L.; Mizutani, K. Role of Wind Filtering and Unbalanced Flow Generation in Middle Atmosphere Gravity Wave Activity at Chatanika Alaska. Atmosphere 2017, 8, 27.

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