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Title: Equatorial waves resolved by balloon-borne Global Navigation Satellite System radio occultation in the Strateole-2 campaign
Abstract. Current climate models have difficulty representing realistic wave–mean flow interactions, partly because the contribution from waves with fine vertical scales is poorly known. There are few direct observations of these waves, and most models have difficulty resolving them. This observational challenge cannot be addressed by satellite or sparse ground-based methods. The Strateole-2 long-duration stratospheric superpressure balloons that float with the horizontal wind on constant-density surfaces provide a unique platform for wave observations across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. For the first time, balloon-borne Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation (RO) is used to provide high-vertical-resolution equatorial wave observations. By tracking navigation signal refractive delays from GPS satellites near the horizon, 40–50 temperature profiles were retrieved daily, from balloon flight altitude (∼20 km) down to 6–8 km altitude, forming an orthogonal pattern of observations over a broad area (±400–500 km) surrounding the flight track. The refractivity profiles show an excellent agreement of better than 0.2 % with co-located radiosonde, spaceborne COSMIC-2 RO, and reanalysis products. The 200–500 m vertical resolution and the spatial and temporal continuity of sampling make it possible to extract properties of Kelvin waves and gravity waves with vertical wavelengths as short as 2–3 km. The results illustrate the more » difference in the Kelvin wave period (20 vs. 16 d) in the Lagrangian versus ground-fixed reference and as much as a 20 % difference in amplitude compared to COSMIC-2, both of which impact estimates of momentum flux. A small dataset from the extra Galileo, GLONASS, and BeiDou constellations demonstrates the feasibility of nearly doubling the sampling density in planned follow-on campaigns when data with full equatorial coverage will contribute to a better estimate of wave forcing on the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and improved QBO representation in models. « less
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Award ID(s):
1642644 1642650
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
15379 to 15402
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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