Absolute values of gravity wave momentum flux derived from satellite data



[1] Temperature data obtained by the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) are analyzed for gravity waves (GWs). Amplitude, phase and vertical wavelength are determined from detrended temperature height profiles. The retrieved phases are utilized to estimate the horizontal wavelengths. At 25 km altitude an equatorial maximum of horizontal wavelength with a decrease toward mid and high latitudes is found. Simultaneous estimates of both horizontal and vertical wavelengths and temperature amplitudes allow the direct calculation of GW momentum flux (MF) from satellite observations for the first time. However, histograms of horizontal wavelength distributions indicate severe undersampling which prevents the retrieval of the propagation directions of the waves, and suggests our MF estimates may be too low, particularly at the high latitudes. Therefore an empirical aliasing correction has been applied. A world map of MF at 25 km altitude shows high variability and pronounced source regions and deviates in structure from a map of GW variances at the same altitude. Results from the Warner and McIntyre GW parameterization scheme (three-part model) show better agreement with CRISTA MF estimates than with CRISTA squared GW amplitudes. Best agreement is found for low model launch levels. Large error ranges of the estimated MF values obtained in this paper could be substantially reduced by improved horizontal sampling in future satellite missions.