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Gravity wave momentum flux in the lower stratosphere over convection

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Abstract

This work describes a method for estimating vertical fluxes of horizontal momentum carried by short horizontal scale gravity waves (λx = 10–100 km) using aircraft measured winds in the lower stratosphere. We utilize the in situ wind vector and pressure altitude measurements provided by the Meteorological Measurement System (MMS) on board the ER-2 aircraft to compute the momentum flux vectors at the flight level above deep convection during the tropical experiment of the Stratosphere Troposphere Exchange Project (STEP-Tropical). Data from Flight 9 are presented here for illustration. The vertical flux of horizontal momentum in these observations points in opposite directions on either side of the location of a strong convective updraft in the cloud shield. This property of internal gravity waves propagating from a central source compares favorably with previously described model results.

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