MLS observations of atmospheric gravity waves over Antarctica

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Abstract

[1] Stratospheric gravity waves over Antarctica are studied with the radiance variances observed by Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite Microwave Limb Sounder (UARS MLS). Strong wave activities are found during August and September in 1992–1994 over the Drake Passage region (290°–315° longitude and 50°S–70°S latitude), where the enhancement seems associated with the topography of both South America and Antarctic Peninsula tips. During the same period, significant gravity wave activities are also evident along the Antarctic coastal region. The vertical growth of the wave variance shows a scale height of ∼14 km at low altitudes for both Drake Passage and the coastal regions but reduces substantially at high altitudes. The growth rate transition occurs at a lower altitude in the Drake Passage region where the variance is larger. The gravity wave activities observed near the Antarctic may contribute significantly to the formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) because of the overlapping with the vortex edge and with the PSC activities as observed by CLAES (Cryogenic Limb Array Etalon Spectrometer).

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