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Title:An Observational Investigation on Gravity Wave Characteristics and Propagation in the Lower Stratosphere and Mesopause
Author(s):Li, Zhenhua
Director of Research:Liu, Alan Z.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Liu, Alan Z.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Swenson, Gary R.; Rauber, Robert M.; Mak, Mankin
Department / Program:Atmospheric Sciences
Discipline:Atmospheric Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Gravity Wave
Atmospheric Dynamics
Airglow Imager
Abstract:In this thesis, investigations on gravity waves are conducted in two regions of the middle atmosphere: the lower stratosphere using high-resolution radiosonde at South Pole and the mesopause region using OH airglow imager at Maui, Hawaii and Cerro Pachon, Chile. Wave characteristics at these regions are deduced and the seasonal variation of wave activity, wave sources, and propagation effect are studied. The study of gravity waves in the lower stratosphere at South Pole reveals that sources other than topography are important even for the lower part of middle atmosphere. Horizontal propagation must be included in parameterization schemes to reflect the fact that waves derived from radiosondes have slant propagation paths. They travel long distance horizontally before they reach higher altitudes. Long term gravity wave characteristics over Maui from 2002 to 2007 are deduced from OH airglow imager. Wave parameters from the long term imager observation provide robust statistics of high-frequency gravity wave in the midlatitudes. Poleward wave propagation preference during summer and equatorward wave propagation preference during winter are observed over Maui. They are also opposite to the seasonal mean meridional wind direction which are always pointing toward winter pole. Momentum fluxes deduced from OH imager are also highly anti-correlated with background winds. At least for the part of spectrum observed by airglow imager, gravity waves act as damping mechanism for diurnal tide. Gravity wave occurrence frequency does not follow the variation of local convective sources and convective sources in a large domain when ducted waves are considered. In fact, with a constant wave source and monthly mean background atmospheric condition, the simulated wave transmission resembles the wave occurrence frequency observed by OH airglow imager at Maui. Thus, at Maui the propagation effect dominates the seasonal variation in wave activity. Gravity wave momentum fluxes deduced from airglow imager provide important observation constraint for gravity wave parameterization for the mesopause region. To explain the cause of seasonal change on meridional propagation preference, three mechanisms are investigated: critical-layer filtering, wave ducting, and Doppler-shifting by local mean wind. Critical-layer filtering failed to explain the propagation preference. Observed gravity wave propagation directions are largely related to the background wind in the airglow layer. This is caused by Doppler-shifting of gravity waves by background wind. Background wind Doppler shifts gravity waves propagating against (along) background wind to higher (lower) frequency and larger (smaller) vertical wavelength. Thus, the observed gravity waves tend to propagate against background wind. The apparent against background wind propagation is largely caused by the contrast in cancellation factor for waves propagate in different direction. To a lesser degree, the difference in dissipation for waves propagate in different direction also contributes to the observed against background wind propagation. The results from this work show gravity wave's propagation in middle atmosphere is strongly affected by atmospheric field. For low frequency waves, their propagation paths are slant and can travel hundreds of kilometers before they reach the middle atmosphere. For high frequency gravity waves, though their propagation paths are mostly vertical, they are subject to ducting and reflection. Due to the large contribution of momentum flux in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) by high-frequency, short-horizontal-scale waves, these propagation effects must be included in gravity wave parameterizations.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Zhenhua Li
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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