Spectral analysis of temperature and Brunt-Väisälä frequency fluctuations observed by radiosondes


  • Toshitaka Tsuda,

  • Thomas E. VanZandt,

  • Masahiro Mizumoto,

  • Susumu Kato,

  • Shoichiro Fukao


We observed profiles of the temperature, T, and Brunt-Väisälä frequency squared, N2, from 0 to 30 km in altitude using radiosondes with 150 m height resolution launched from the MU observatory, Japan (34°51′N, 136°06′), from September 27, 1986, to February 24, 1989. We analyzed vertical wavenumber spectra of the normalized temperature T/T and N2 fluctuations in the 2.0–8.5 km (troposphere) and 18.5–25.0 km (lower stratosphere) altitude ranges and compared them with model spectra based on saturated gravity wave theory. In the winter stratosphere the slope of the mean T/T spectra in the wavenumber range from 7.0×10−4 to 2.0×10−3 (cycles per meter) was very close to the −3 predicted by the model, and the spectral amplitudes were 1.3–1.9 times larger than the predicted values, which is within the possible range of variability of the model. On the other hand, in the summer stratosphere the spectral slope ranged from −2.2 to −2.4, which is more gradual than the model, and the spectral amplitudes were only 0.4 to 0.5 of the predictions. The spectral shape in the troposphere did not show a significant difference between summer and winter. The spectral amplitudes, however, exceeded the model values by factors of about 3.2 and 1.9 in winter and summer, respectively. The overall shape of the equation image profile for fluctuations with vertical scales from 150 to 900 m was generally similar to the shape of the background value of N4, consistent with the saturated gravity wave model, but the details of the altitude variations were rather complicated. That is, equation image just below the tropopause usually exceeded the model by a factor of 2 to 4, and it became significantly smaller than the model in the summer stratosphere and in a region above 25 km in winter.