Density response of the mesospheric sodium layer to gravity wave perturbations

J. D. Shelton, C. S. Gardner, C. F. Sechrist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lidar observations of the mesospheric sodium layer often reveal wavelike features moving through the layer. It is often assumed that these features are a layer density response to gravity waves. Chiu and Ching [1978] described the approximate form of the linear response of atmospheric layers to gravity waves. In this paper, their results are used to predict the response of the sodium layer to gravity waves. These simulations are compared with experimental observations and a good correlation is found between the two. Because of the thickness of the sodium layer and the density gradients found in it, a linear model of the layer response is not always adequate to describe gravity wave ‐ sodium layer interactions. Inclusion of nonlinearities in the layer response is briefly discussed. Experimental data is seen to contain features consistent with the predicted nonlinearities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1072
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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