Simultaneous observations of the phase-locked 2 day wave at Adelaide, Cerro Pachon, and Darwin

R. L. Walterscheid, J. H. Hecht, L. J. Gelinas, A. MacKinnon, R. A. Vincent, I. M. Reid, S. J. Franke, Y. Zhao, M. J. Taylor, P. D. Pautet

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The Southern Hemisphere summer 2 daywave (TDW) is themost dramatic large-scale event of the upper mesosphere. The winds accelerate over ~1 week, may attain > 70 m/s, and are often accompanied by a near disappearance of the diurnal tide and stabilization of the period close to 48 h. We denote this as the phase-locked 2 day wave (PL/TDW). We have examined airglow and meteor radar (MR) wind data from the Andes Lidar Observatory (Cerro Pachon, Chile:30°S, 289.3°E), MR data from Darwin (12.5°S, 131°E) and airglow and medium frequency radar data from the University of Adelaide (34.7°S, 138.6°E) for the behavior of the TDW during the austral summers of 2010, 2012, and 2013. The Cerro Pachon and Adelaide sites are located at similar latitudes separated in longitude by about 120°. We find a remarkable coincidence between the TDW oscillations at Chile and Adelaide for the period January-February 2010. The oscillations are nearly in phase in terms of local time and the minima and maxima repeat at nearly the same local time from cycle to cycle consistent with a phase-locked wave number 3 TDW. Data for this and other years (including Darwin) show that the amplitude of the diurnal tide decreases when the TDW is largest and that this occurs when the period is close to 48 h. These observations support the proposal that the PL/TDW is a subharmonic parametric instability wherein the diurnal tide transfers energy to a TDW that is resonant at nearly 48 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1808-1825
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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