Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-93
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-93

  06 Apr 2021

06 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Using Vertical Phase Differences to Better Resolve 3D Gravity Wave Structure

Corwin J. Wright1, Neil P. Hindley1, M. Joan Alexander2, Laura A. Holt2, and Lars Hoffmann3 Corwin J. Wright et al.
  • 1Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Bath, UK
  • 2Northwest Research Associates, Colorado, USA
  • 3Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

Abstract. Atmospheric gravity waves (GWs) are a critically-important dynamical process in the terrestrial atmosphere, with significant effects on weather and climate. They are geographically ubiquitous in the middle and upper atmosphere, and thus satellite observations are key to characterising their properties and spatial distribution. Nadir-viewing satellite instruments characterise the short-horizontal-wavelength portion of the GW spectrum, which is important for momentum transport, well; however, these nadir-sensing instruments have coarse vertical resolutions. This restricts our ability to characterise the 3D structure of these waves accurately, with important implications for our quantitative understanding of how these waves travel and how they drive the atmospheric circulation when they break. Here, we describe, implement and test a new spectral analysis method to address this problem. This method is optimised for the characterisation of waves in any three-dimensional dataset where one dimension is of coarse resolution relative to variations in the wave field, a description which applies to GW-sensing nadir-sounding satellite instruments but which is also applicable in other areas of science. We show that this "2D+1 ST" method provides significant benefits relative to existing spectrally-isotropic methods for characterising such waves. In particular, it is much more able to detect regional and height variations in observed vertical wavelength, and able to properly characterise extremely vertically long waves that extend beyond the data volume.

Corwin J. Wright et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-93', Anonymous Referee #1, 06 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-93', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 May 2021

Corwin J. Wright et al.

Corwin J. Wright et al.

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Short summary
Measuring atmospheric gravity waves in low-vertical-resolution data is technically challenging, especially when the waves are significantly longer in the vertical than the length of the measurement domain. We introduce and demonstrate a modification to the existing Stockwell-Transform methods of characterising these waves that addresses these problems, with no apparent reduction in the other capabilities of the technique.