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First Global Measurement of Small Scale Gravity Waves in the Stratosphere


HIRDLS high resolution temperature measurements show short vertical wavelength gravity waves, permitting assessment of gravity wave forcing in the stratospheric circulation.

The temperature cross-section (over S. America) and enlarged view (right) depicts an alternating series of + and - wave fronts propagating from mid-latitude tropopause toward the mid-stratosphere tropics.

This is a gravity wave with short vertical (~ 4 km) and horizontal (500 km) wavelength and small amplitude (1-2K) that can not be observed with other techniques.

Analyses of HIRDLS data allow determination of momentum input from small scale waves which can be used in global circulation models.

MLS measurements

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