Relationships between Gravity Waves Observed at Earth's Surface and in the Stratosphere over the Central and Eastern United States

de Groot-Hedlin, C. D., Hedlin, M. A. H., Hoffmann, L., Joan Alexander, M. & Stephan, C. C.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres , 2017

Abstract

Observations of tropospheric gravity waves (GWs) made by the new and extensive USArray Transportable Array (TA) barometric network located east of the Rockies, in the central and eastern United States and of stratospheric (30-40 km above sealevel) GWs made by the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) are compared over a 5-year time span from 2010 through 2014. GW detections in the period band from 2-6 hours made at the Earth's surface during the thunderstorm season from May through August each year exhibit the same broad spatial and temporal patterns as observed at stratospheric altitudes. At both levels, the occurrence frequency of GWs is higher at night than during the day and is highest to the west of the Great Lakes. Statistically significant correlations between the variance of the pressure at the TA, which is a proxy for GWs at ground level, with 8.1 μm brightness temperature measurements from AIRS and rain radar precipitation data, which are both proxies for convective activity, indicate that GWs observed at the TA are related to convective sources. There is little, if any, time lag between the two. Correlations between GWs in the stratosphere and at ground level are weaker, possibly due to the AIRS observational filter effect, but are still statistically significant at nighttime. We conclude that convective activity to the west of the Great Lakes is the dominant source of GWs both at ground level and within the stratosphere.


Citation

de Groot-Hedlin, C. D., Hedlin, M. A. H., Hoffmann, L., Joan Alexander, M. & Stephan, C. C. (2017). Relationships between Gravity Waves Observed at Earth's Surface and in the Stratosphere over the Central and Eastern United States. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JD027159