A gravity wave climatology for Antarctica compiled from Challenging Minisatellite Payload/Global Positioning System (CHAMP/GPS) radio occultations

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Abstract

[1] The seasonal, geographical, and altitudinal dependence of gravity wave activity in the lower stratosphere over Antarctica is presented. Gravity wave activity is estimated by calculating potential energy, Ep, from radio occultation profiles obtained by the Challenging Minisatellite Payload/Global Positioning System (CHAMP/GPS) experiment. Significant seasonal variation of wave activity is observed. Smaller wave activity in summer is attributed to waves with small phase velocities experiencing critical level filtering. At other times of the year, when wave activity is large, less filtering occurs and the strong background wind is likely to cause Doppler shifting of waves to longer vertical wavelengths, which can reach larger amplitudes before saturating. Relationships between gravity wave activity and geographic location indicate that topography is a strong source for wave activity especially over the Antarctic Peninsula. However, wind rotation in this area was found to reduce the wave energy in summer at certain altitudes. A strong enhancement of wave energy is observed at the edge of the polar vortex. Again, reduced critical level filtering and Doppler shifting in the area of the jet are likely to be major causes for this finding. Possible limitations to this study due to observational filtering are discussed.

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