skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: The Role of Gravity Waves in the Formation and Organization of Clouds during TWPICE

All convective clouds emit gravity waves. While it is certain that convectively-generated waves play important parts in determining the climate, their precise roles remain uncertain and their effects are not (generally) represented in climate models. The work described here focuses mostly on observations and modeling of convectively-generated gravity waves, using the intensive observations from the DoE-sponsored Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE), which took place in Darwin, from 17 January to 13 February 2006. Among other things, the research has implications the part played by convectively-generated gravity waves in the formation of cirrus, in the initiation and organization of further convection, and in the subgrid-scale momentum transport and associated large-scale stresses imposed on the troposphere and stratosphere. The analysis shows two groups of inertia-gravity waves are detected: group L in the middle stratosphere during the suppressed monsoon period, and group S in the lower stratosphere during the monsoon break period. Waves belonging to group L propagate to the south-east with a mean intrinsic period of 35 h, and have vertical and horizontal wavelengths of about 5-6 km and 3000-6000 km, respectively. Ray tracing calculations indicate that these waves originate from a deep convective region near Indonesia. Waves belonging tomore » group S propagate to the south-south-east with an intrinsic period, vertical wavelength and horizontal wavelength of about 45 h, 2 km and 2000-4000 km, respectively. These waves are shown to be associated with shallow convection in the oceanic area within about 1000 km of Darwin. The intrinsic periods of high-frequency waves are estimated to be between 20-40 minutes. The high-frequency wave activity in the stratosphere, defined by mass-weighted variance of the vertical motion of the sonde, has a maximum following the afternoon local convection indicating that these waves are generated by local convection. The wave activity is strongest in the lower stratosphere below 22 km and, during the suppressed monsoon period, is modulated with a 3-4-day period. The concentration of the wave activity in the lower stratosphere is consistent with the properties of the environment in which these waves propagate, whereas its 3-4-day modulation is explained by the variation of the convection activity in the TWP-ICE domain. At low rainfall intensity the wave activity increases as rainfall intensity increases. At high values of rainfall intensity, however, the wave activity associated with deep convective clouds is independent of the rainfall intensity. The convection and gravity waves observed during TWP-ICE are simulated with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. These simulations are compared with radiosonde observations described above and are used to determine some of the properties of convectively generated gravity waves. The gravity waves appear to be well simulated by the model. The model is used to explore the relationships between the convection, the gravity waves and cirrus.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Monash University
  2. University of Melbourne
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Monash University, Victoria, Australia
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE SC Office of Biological and Environmental Research (SC-23)
Contributing Orgs:
Monash University, University of Melbourne
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES Convection, Gravity Wave, Radiosonde, Stratosphere