Climatology and modeling of quasi-monochromatic atmospheric gravity waves observed over Urbana Illinois

J. H. Hecht, R. L. Walterscheid, M. P. Hickey, S. J. Franke

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From analyzing nine months of airglow imaging observations of atmospheric gravity waves (AGWs) over Adelaide, Australia (35° S) [Walterscheid et al., 1999] have proposed that many of the quasi-monochromatic waves seen in the images were primarily thermally ducted. Here are presented 15 months of observations, from February 1996 to May 1997, for AGW frequency and propagation direction from a northern latitude site, Urbana Illinois (40° N). As Adelaide, Urbana is geographically distant from large orographic features. Similar to what was found in Adelaide, the AGWs seem to originate from a preferred location during the time period around summer solstice. In conjunction with these airglow data there exists MF radar data to provide winds in the 90 km region and near-simultaneous lidar data which provide a temperature climatology. The temperature data have previously been analyzed by States and Gardner [2000]. The temperature and wind data are used here in a full wave model analysis to determine the characteristics of the wave ducting and wave reflection during the 15 month observation period. This model analysis is applied to this and another existing data set recently described by Nakamura et al. [1999]. It is shown that the existence of a thermal duct around summer solstice can plausibly account for our observations. However, the characteristics of the thermal duct and the ability of waves to be ducted is also greatly dependent on the characteristics of the background wind. A simple model is constructed to simulate the trapping of these waves by such a duct. It is suggested that the waves seen over Urbana originate no more than a few thousand kilometers from the observation site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000JD900722
Pages (from-to)5181-5195
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD6
StatePublished - Mar 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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