Articles | Volume 18, issue 4
30 Apr 2000
30 Apr 2000

Analysis of gravity waves in the tropical middle atmosphere over La Reunion Island (21°S, 55°E) with lidar using wavelet techniques

F. Chane-Ming, F. Molinaro, J. Leveau, P. Keckhut, and A. Hauchecorne

Abstract. The capabilities of the continuous wavelet transform (CWT) and the multiresolution analysis (MRA) are presented in this work to measure vertical gravity wave characteristics. Wave properties are extracted from the first data set of Rayleigh lidar obtained between heights of 30 km and 60 km over La Reunion Island (21°S, 55°E) during the Austral winter in 1994 under subtropical conditions. The altitude-wavelength representations deduced from these methods provide information on the time and spatial evolution of the wave parameters of the observed dominant modes in vertical profiles such as the vertical wavelengths, the vertical phase speeds, the amplitudes of temperature perturbations and the distribution of wave energy. The spectra derived from measurements show the presence of localized quasi-monochromatic structures with vertical wavelengths <10 km. Three methods based on the wavelet techniques show evidence of a downward phase progression. A first climatology of the dominant modes observed during the Austral winter period reveals a dominant night activity of 2 or 3 quasi-monochromatic structures with vertical wavelengths between 1-2 km from the stratopause, 3-4 km and 6-10 km observed between heights of 30 km and 60 km. In addition, it reveals a dominant activity of modes with a vertical phase speed of -0.3 m/s and observed periods peaking at 3-4 h and 9 h. The characteristics of averaged vertical wavelengths appear to be similar to those observed during winter in the southern equatorial region and in the Northern Hemisphere at mid-latitudes.

Key words: Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (climatology; middle atmosphere dynamics; waves and tides)