Articles | Volume 23, issue 3
30 Mar 2005
 | 30 Mar 2005

A statistical study of gravity waves from radiosonde observations at Wuhan (30° N, 114° E) China

S. D. Zhang and F. Yi

Abstract. Several works concerning the dynamical and thermal structures and inertial gravity wave activities in the troposphere and lower stratosphere (TLS) from the radiosonde observation have been reported before, but these works were concentrated on either equatorial or polar regions. In this paper, background atmosphere and gravity wave activities in the TLS over Wuhan (30° N, 114° E) (a medium latitudinal region) were statistically studied by using the data from radiosonde observations on a twice daily basis at 08:00 and 20:00 LT in the period between 2000 and 2002. The monthly-averaged temperature and horizontal winds exhibit the essential dynamic and thermal structures of the background atmosphere. For avoiding the extreme values of background winds and temperature in the height range of 11-18km, we studied gravity waves, respectively, in two separate height regions, one is from ground surface to 10km (lower part), and the other is within 18-25km (upper part). In total, 791 and 1165 quasi-monochromatic inertial gravity waves were extracted from our data set for the lower and upper parts, respectively. The gravity wave parameters (intrinsic frequencies, amplitudes, wavelengths, intrinsic phase velocities and wave energies) are calculated and statistically studied. The statistical results revealed that in the lower part, there were 49.4% of gravity waves propagating upward, and the percentage was 76.4% in the upper part. Moreover, the average wave amplitudes and energies are less than those at the lower latitudinal regions, which indicates that the gravity wave parameters have a latitudinal dependence. The correlated temporal evolution of the monthly-averaged wave energies in the lower and upper parts and a subsequent quantitative analysis strongly suggested that at the observation site, dynamical instability (strong wind shear) induced by the tropospheric jet is the main excitation source of inertial gravity waves in the TLS.