Observation and analysis of a large amplitude mountain wave event over the Antarctic peninsula



[1] We use measurements from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the AQUA satellite to observe the 3-dimensional structure of a gravity wave event over the Antarctic peninsula, and determine the horizontal and vertical wavelengths, propagation direction, and temperature amplitude, and from these we estimate wave momentum flux. Using theoretical knowledge of the weighting functions and radiative transfer for AIRS radiance measurements at temperature sensitive channels in the infrared, we derive a method of estimating wave temperature amplitude directly from the radiance measurements. Comparison of the radiance-based temperature amplitudes to the temperature amplitude in AIRS retrieved temperature fields shows close agreement. Because the radiances have 3-times better horizontal resolution than the retrievals, our analysis suggests we can routinely observe important geophysical properties of waves with horizontal wavelengths as short as 80 km using AIRS radiances. We further analyze a nearly identical wave event appearing in the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasts (ECMWF) temperature and wind fields from both assimilation and forecast data. Analysis of the ECMWF data and nearby radiosonde wind profiles allows the interpretation as a mountain wave event forced by flow over the topography of the Antarctic peninsula.