A study of mesoscale gravity waves over the North Atlantic with satellite observations and a mesoscale model

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Abstract

[1] Satellite microwave data are used to study gravity wave properties and variabilities over the northeastern United States and the North Atlantic in the December–January periods. The gravity waves in this region, found in many winters, can reach the stratopause with growing amplitude. The Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) observations show that the wave occurrences are correlated well with the intensity and location of the tropospheric baroclinic jet front systems. To further investigate the cause(s) and properties of the North Atlantic gravity waves, we focus on a series of wave events during 19–21 January 2003 and compare AMSU-A observations to simulations from a mesoscale model (MM5). The simulated gravity waves compare qualitatively well with the satellite observations in terms of wave structures, timing, and overall morphology. Excitation mechanisms of these large-amplitude waves in the troposphere are complex and subject to further investigations.

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