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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. 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 themore »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
  3. Abstract

    The long‐term statistical characteristics of high‐frequency quasi‐monochromatic gravity waves are presented using multi‐year airglow images observed at Andes Lidar Observatory (ALO, 30.3°S, 70.7°W) in northern Chile. The distribution of primary gravity wave parameters including horizontal wavelength, vertical wavelength, intrinsic wave speed, and intrinsic wave period are obtained and are in the ranges of 20–30 km, 15–25 km, 50–100 m s−1, and 5–10 min, respectively. The duration of persistent gravity wave events captured by the imager approximately follows an exponential distribution with an average duration of 7–9 min. The waves tend to propagate against the local background winds and show evidence of seasonal variations. In austral winter (May–August), the observed wave occurrence frequency is higher, and preferential wave propagation is equator‐ward. In austral summer (November–February), the wave occurrence frequency is lower, and the waves mostly propagate pole‐ward. Critical‐layer filtering plays a moderate role in determining the preferential propagation direction in certain months, especially for waves with a smaller observed phase speed (less than typical background winds). The observed wave occurrence and preferential propagation direction are related to the locations of convection activities nearby and their relative distance to ALO. However, direct wave generations are less likely due to the large distance between the ALO and convectivemore »sources. Other mechanisms such as secondary wave generation and possible ducted propagation should be considered. The estimated mean momentum fluxes have typical values of a few m2 s−2.

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