Articles | Volume 22, issue 2
01 Jan 2004
 | 01 Jan 2004

Meteor radar observations of atmospheric waves in the equatorial mesosphere/lower thermosphere over Ascension Island

D. Pancheva, N. J. Mitchell, and P. T. Younger

Abstract. Some preliminary results about the planetary wave characteristics observed during the first seven months (October 2001-April 2002) of observations over Ascension Island (7.9°S, 14.4°W) are reported in this study. The zonal wind is dominated by the 3–7-day waves, while the meridional component – by the quasi-2-day wave. Two wave events in the zonal wind are studied in detail: a 3–4-day wave observed in the end of October/November and the 3–6-day wave in January/February. The moderate 3- and 3.2-day waves are interpreted as an ultra-fast Kelvin wave, while for the strong 4-day wave we are not able to make a firm decision. The 6-day wave is interpreted as a Doppler-shifted 5-day normal mode, due to its very large vertical wavelength (79km). The quasi-2-day wave seems to be present almost continuously in the meridional wind, but the strongest bursts are observed mainly in December and January. The observed period range is large, from 34 to 68h, with some clustering around 43–44 and 50h. The estimated vertical wavelengths indicate shorter lengths during the equinoxes, in the range of 25-30km, and longer ones, ∼40–50km, in January/February, when the 48-h wave is strongest.

Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics middle atmosphere dynamics, waves and tides)