Convective and dynamical instabilities due to gravity wave motions in the lower and middle atmosphere: Theory and observations
Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
Copyright 1985 by the American Geophysical Union.
Volume 20, Issue 6, pages 1247–1277, November-December 1985
How to Cite
1985), Convective and dynamical instabilities due to gravity wave motions in the lower and middle atmosphere: Theory and observations, Radio Sci., 20(6), 1247–1277, doi:10.1029/RS020i006p01247., and (
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 JUN 1985
- Manuscript Received: 5 FEB 1985
Dynamical and convective instabilities are two mechanisms that contribute significantly to the dissipation of larger-scale motions and the generation of turbulence in the middle atmosphere. The former are normally due to enhanced velocity shears and/or a local minimum of the static stability either in the mean flow or associated with low-frequency wave motions. The most common dynamical instability is the Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) instability which is often manifested in the atmosphere as a series of KH billows. Convective instabilities occur where the lapse rate becomes superadiabatic through the action of gravity waves and appear to predominate for high-frequency wave motions. This paper reviews the theory and the observational evidence for both types of instabilities in the lower and middle atmosphere.