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Secondary Gravity Waves Generated by Breaking Mountain Waves Over Europe

Heale, Chistopher J. and Bossert, K. and Vadas, S. L. and Hoffmann, Lars and Dörnbrack, Andreas and Stober, G. and Snively, J. B. and Jacobi, Christoph (2020) Secondary Gravity Waves Generated by Breaking Mountain Waves Over Europe. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125 (5), e2019JD031662/1-18. Wiley. doi: 10.1029/2019JD031662. ISSN 0148-0227.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2019JD031662


A strong mountain wave, observed over Central Europe on 12 January 2016, is simulated in 2D under two fixed background wind conditions representing opposite tidal phases. The aim of the simulation is to investigate the breaking of the mountain wave and subsequent generation of nonprimary waves in the upper atmosphere. The model results show that the mountain wave first breaks as it approaches a mesospheric critical level creating turbulence on horizontal scales of 8–30 km. These turbulence scales couple directly to horizontal secondary waves scales, but those scales are prevented from reaching the hermosphere by the tidal winds, which act like a filter. Initial secondary waves that can reach the thermosphere range from 60 to 120 km in horizontal scale and are influenced by the scales of the horizontal and vertical forcing associated with wave breaking at mountain wave zonal phase width, and horizontal wavelength scales. Large-scale nonprimary waves dominate over the whole duration of the simulation with horizontal scales of 107–300 km and periods of 11–22 minutes. The thermosphere winds heavily influence the time-averaged spatial distribution of wave forcing in the thermosphere, which peaks at 150 km altitude and occurs both westward and eastward of the source in the 2 UT background simulation and primarily eastward of the source in the 7 UT background simulation. The forcing amplitude is ∼2× that of the primary mountain wave breaking and dissipation. This suggests that nonprimary waves play a significant role in gravity waves dynamics and improved understanding of the thermospheric winds is crucial to understanding their forcing distribution.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/134876/
Document Type:Article
Title:Secondary Gravity Waves Generated by Breaking Mountain Waves Over Europe
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Heale, Chistopher J.CSAR, Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Bossert, K.Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Vadas, S. L.North West Res. Ass., Boulder, CO, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hoffmann, LarsForschungszentrum JülichUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Dörnbrack, AndreasDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0936-0216UNSPECIFIED
Snively, J. B.CSAR, Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Jacobi, ChristophUniv. LeipzigUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:20 February 2020
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:e2019JD031662/1-18
Keywords:Mountain wave, MLT, thermosphere, thermospheric winds
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Atmospheric and climate research
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Transport Meteorology
Deposited By: Ziegele, Brigitte
Deposited On:14 May 2020 17:36
Last Modified:04 Dec 2023 14:38

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