Mountain Waves Entering the Stratosphere

  • Smith R
  • Woods B
  • Jensen J
 et al. 
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Using the National Science Foundation (NSF)-NCAR Gulfstream V and
the NSF-Wyoming King Air research aircraft during the Terrain-Induced
Rotor Experiment (T-REX) in March-April 2006, six cases of Sierra
Nevada mountain waves were surveyed with 126 cross-mountain legs.
The goal was to identify the influence of the tropopause on waves
entering the stratosphere. During each flight leg, part of the variation
in observed parameters was due to parameter layering, heaving up
and down in the waves. Diagnosis of the combined wave-layering signal
was aided with innovative use of new GPS altitude measurements. The
ozone and water vapor layering correlated with layered Bernoulli
function and cross-flow speed. GPS-corrected static pressure was
used to compute the vertical energy flux, confirming, for the first
time, the Eliassen-Palm relation between momentum and energy flux
(EF =-U . MF). Kinetic (KE) and potential (PE) wave energy densities
were also computed. The equipartition ratio (EQR = PE/KE) changed
abruptly across the tropopause, indicating partial wave reflection.
In one case (16 April 2006) systematically reversed momentum and
energy fluxes were found in the stratosphere above 12 km. On a "wave
property diagram," three families of waves were identified: up-and
downgoing long waves (30 km) and shorter (14 km) trapped waves. For
the latter two types, an explanation is proposed related to secondary
generation near the tropopause and reflection or secondary generation
in the lower stratosphere.

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  • Ronald B. Smith

  • Bryan K. Woods

  • Jorgen Jensen

  • William A. Cooper

  • James D. Doyle

  • Qingfang Jiang

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