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Using Satellite Observations to Constrain Parameterizations of Gravity Wave Effects for Global Models

Summary: Using Satellite Observations to Constrain Parameterizations of Gravity Wave Effects
for Global Models
Colorado Research Associates, Division of NorthWest Research Associates, Boulder, Colorado
NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, Camp Springs, Maryland
(Manuscript received 6 January 2006, in final form 31 July 2006)
Small-scale gravity waves are common features in atmospheric temperature observations. In satellite
observations, these waves have been traditionally difficult to resolve because the footprint or resolution of
the measurements precluded their detection or clear identification. Recent advances in satellite instrument
resolution coupled to innovative analysis techniques have led in the last decade to some new global datasets
describing the temperature variance associated with these waves. Such satellite observations have been
considered the best hope for quantifying the global properties of gravity waves needed to constrain pa-
rameterizations of their effects for global models. Although global maps of averaged gravity wave tem-
perature variance have now been published from a variety of different instruments on Earth-orbiting
platforms these maps have not provided the needed constraints. The present paper first summarizes what
has been learned from traditional temporally and spatially averaged analyses of satellite gravity wave
observations and why new analysis methods are needed. Then an alternative is offered to these traditional
analyses that recognizes the fact that the waves occur in large-amplitude events, or wave packets, that can


Source: Alexander, M. Joan - Colorado Research Associates Division, Northwest Research Associates, Inc.


Collections: Geosciences