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  1. Abstract

    The quasi‐biennial oscillation (QBO), a ubiquitous feature of the zonal mean zonal winds in the equatorial lower stratosphere, is forced by selective dissipation of atmospheric waves that range in periods from days to hours. However, QBO circulations in numerical models tend to be weak compared with observations, probably because of limited vertical resolution that cannot adequately resolve gravity waves and the height range over which they dissipate. Observations are required to help quantify wave effects. The passage of a superpressure balloon (SPB) near a radiosonde launch site in the equatorial Western Pacific during the transition from the eastward to westward phase of the QBO at 20 km permits a coordinated study of the intrinsic frequencies and vertical structures of two inertia‐gravity wave packets with periods near 1 day and 3 days, respectively. Both waves have large horizontal wavelengths of about 970 and 5,500 km. The complementary nature of the observations provided information on their momentum fluxes and the evolution of the waves in the vertical. The near 1 day westward propagating wave has a critical level near 20 km, while the eastward propagating 3‐day wave is able to propagate through to heights near 30 km before dissipation. Estimates of the forcing provided by the momentum flux convergence, taking into account the duration and scale of the forcing, suggests zonal force of about 0.3–0.4 m s−1 day−1for the 1‐day wave and about 0.4–0.6 m s−1 day−1for the 3‐day wave, which acts for several days.

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  2. Abstract

    The structure, variability, and mean‐flow interactions of the quasi‐2‐day wave (Q2DW) in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere during January 2015 were studied employing meteor and medium‐frequency radar winds at eight sites from 23°S to 76°S and Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) temperature and geopotential height measurements from 30°S to 80°S. The event had a duration of ~20–25 days, dominant periods of ~44–52 hr, temperature amplitudes as large as ~16 K, and zonal and meridional wind amplitudes as high as ~40 and 80 m/s, respectively, at middle and lower latitudes. MLS measurements enabled definition of balance winds that agreed well with radar wind amplitudes and phases at middle latitudes where amplitudes were large and quantification of the various Q2DW modes contributing to the full wave field. The Q2DW event was composed primarily of the westward zonal wavenumber 3 (W3) mode but also had measurable amplitudes in other westward modes W1, W2, and W4; eastward modes E1 and E2; and stationary mode S0. Of the secondary modes, W1, W2, and E2 had the larger amplitudes. Inferred MLS balance winds enabled estimates of the Eliassen‐Palm fluxes for each mode, and cumulative zonal accelerations that were found to be in reasonable agreement with radar estimates from ~35°S to 70°S at the lower altitudes at which radar winds were available.

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