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Effects of background winds and temperature on bores, strong wind shears and concentric gravity waves in the mesopause region


Using data from the CSU sodium lidar and Kyoto University OH airglow imager at Fort Collins, CO, this thesis provides a comprehensive, though qualitative, understanding for three different yet related observed fluid-dynamical phenomena in the mesopause region. The first project involves the convection-excited gravity waves observed in the OH airglow layer at 87 km. Case study on May 11, 2004 is discussed in detail along with statistical studies and a ray-tracing modeling. A single convection source matches the center of the concentric gravity waves. The horizontal wavelengths and periods of these gravity waves were measured as functions of both radius and time. The weak mean background wind between the lower and middle atmosphere determines the penetration of the gravity waves into higher altitude. The second project involves mesospheric bores observed by the same OH imager. The observation on October 9, 2007 suggests that when a large-amplitude gravity wave is trapped in a thermal duct, its wave front could steepen and forms bore-like structure in the mesopause. In turn, the large gravity wave and its bore may significantly impact the background. Statistical study reveals the possible link between the jet/front system in the lower atmosphere and the large-scale gravity waves and associated bores in the mesopause region. The third project involves the relationship between large wind shear generation and sustainment and convective/dynamic stabilities measured by the sodium lidar at the altitude of 80-105 km during 2002-2005. The correlation between wind shear, S, and Brunt-Vaisala frequency, N suggests that the maximum sustainable wind shear is determined by the necessary condition for dynamic instability of Richardson number, leading to the result that the maximal wind shear occurs at altitudes of lower thermosphere where the atmosphere is convectively very stable. The dominate source for sustainable large windshears appears to be the semidiurnal tidal-period perturbations with shorter vertical wavelengths and greater amplitude.


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background winds
gravity waves
wind shears
electrical engineering
atmospheric sciences


Associated Publications