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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 1 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 215-232, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-215-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Jan 2018

Research article | 12 Jan 2018

Intercomparison of AIRS and HIRDLS stratospheric gravity wave observations

Catrin I. Meyer1, Manfred Ern2, Lars Hoffmann1, Quang Thai Trinh2, and M. Joan Alexander3 Catrin I. Meyer et al.
  • 1Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 2Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany
  • 3NorthWest Research Associates, Inc., CoRA Office, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. We investigate stratospheric gravity wave observations by the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite and the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) aboard NASA's Aura satellite. AIRS operational temperature retrievals are typically not used for studies of gravity waves, because their vertical and horizontal resolution is rather limited. This study uses data of a high-resolution retrieval which provides stratospheric temperature profiles for each individual satellite footprint. Therefore the horizontal sampling of the high-resolution retrieval is 9 times better than that of the operational retrieval. HIRDLS provides 2-D spectral information of observed gravity waves in terms of along-track and vertical wavelengths. AIRS as a nadir sounder is more sensitive to short-horizontal-wavelength gravity waves, and HIRDLS as a limb sounder is more sensitive to short-vertical-wavelength gravity waves. Therefore HIRDLS is ideally suited to complement AIRS observations. A calculated momentum flux factor indicates that the waves seen by AIRS contribute significantly to momentum flux, even if the AIRS temperature variance may be small compared to HIRDLS. The stratospheric wave structures observed by AIRS and HIRDLS often agree very well. Case studies of a mountain wave event and a non-orographic wave event demonstrate that the observed phase structures of AIRS and HIRDLS are also similar. AIRS has a coarser vertical resolution, which results in an attenuation of the amplitude and coarser vertical wavelengths than for HIRDLS. However, AIRS has a much higher horizontal resolution, and the propagation direction of the waves can be clearly identified in geographical maps. The horizontal orientation of the phase fronts can be deduced from AIRS 3-D temperature fields. This is a restricting factor for gravity wave analyses of limb measurements. Additionally, temperature variances with respect to stratospheric gravity wave activity are compared on a statistical basis. The complete HIRDLS measurement period from January 2005 to March 2008 is covered. The seasonal and latitudinal distributions of gravity wave activity as observed by AIRS and HIRDLS agree well. A strong annual cycle at mid- and high latitudes is found in time series of gravity wave variances at 42km, which has its maxima during wintertime and its minima during summertime. The variability is largest during austral wintertime at 60°S. Variations in the zonal winds at 2.5hPa are associated with large variability in gravity wave variances. Altogether, gravity wave variances of AIRS and HIRDLS are complementary to each other. Large parts of the gravity wave spectrum are covered by joint observations. This opens up fascinating vistas for future gravity wave research.

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We investigate stratospheric gravity wave observations by the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) and the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS). Waves seen by AIRS contribute significantly to momentum flux, which indicates a calculated momentum flux factor. AIRS and HIRDLS agree well in the phase structure of the wave events and also in the seasonal and latitudinal patterns of gravity wave activity and can be used complementary to each other.
We investigate stratospheric gravity wave observations by the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder...
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