Tidal modulation of the gravity-wave momentum flux in the Antarctic mesosphere

Airglow imager and dynasonde/IDI radar wind measurements at Halley Station, Antarctica (76degreesS, 27degreesW) have been used to estimate the diurnal variation of the vertical fluxes of horizontal momentum carried by high-frequency atmospheric gravity waves. The cross-correlation coefficients between the vertical and horizontal wind perturbations were calculated from the sodium airglow imager data collected during four consecutive nights of near total darkness during July of 2000. These were combined with wind-velocity variances from coincident radar measurements to estimate the upper limit of the vertical flux of horizontal momentum during three-hour intervals throughout the period. The resulting momentum flux showed a marked semi-diurnal oscillation in the zonal and meridional components. Calculations of the momentum flux through the Na airglow show variations in period and phase consistent with the observations, implying that tidal propagation and modulated gravity-wave forcing may both affect observed wind variations.


Publication status:
Authors: Espy, P.J., Jones, G.O.L., Swenson, G.R., Tang, J., Taylor, M.J.

1 January, 2004
Geophysical Research Letters / 31
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