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Gravity waves

3D temperature distribution of a mountain wave above Iceland

3D temperature distribution of a mountain wave above Iceland. Phase fronts are oriented against the mean southerly wind. The wave packet tilts to the East in the highest altitudes leaving the Hexagon area.
For a movie of the Iceland observations see: https://doi.org/10.5446/31482


Gravity waves are an important coupling mechansim between the different compartents of the atmosphere: chiefly generated in the troposphere, they propagate upward and deposit momentum and energy in the stratosphere and mesosphere. Infrared limb sounder measure GWs by means of their temperature structures. GLORIA provided the first measured 3D distribution of a mesoscale GW in the UTLS. The full characterization of the wave allows backward ray-tracing to the Iceland orography. Forward ray-tracing shows unexpectedly strong oblique propagation in the UTLS.
The resluts are published in ACP: https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/14937/2017/

GLORIA took dedicated GW observations in serveral flights during the POLSTRACC/GWLcycle/Salsa (PGS) and WISE campaigns. The employment of GW in the worlds strongest GW hot spot at Tierra del Fuego is planned for the Southtrac campaign in 2020.