The atmospheric background situation in northern Scandinavia during January/February 2003 in the context of the MaCWAVE campaign
Abstract. The atmosphere background wind field controls the propagation of gravity waves from the troposphere through the stratosphere into the mesosphere. During January 2003 the MaCWAVE campaign took place at Esrange, with the purpose of observing vertically ascending waves induced by orography. Temperature data from the U. Bonn lidar at Esrange (68° N/21° E) and the ALOMAR RMR lidar (69° N/16° E), wind data from Esrange MST radar ESRAD, as well as wind data from the ECMWF T106 model, are used to analyse the atmospheric background situation and its effect on mountain wave propagation during January/February 2003. Critical levels lead to dissipation of vertically ascending waves, thus mountain waves are not observable above those levels. In the first half of January a minor as well as a major stratospheric warming dominated the meteorological background situation. These warmings led to a wind reversal, thus to critical level filtering and consequently prevented gravity waves from propagating to high altitudes. While the troposphere was not transparent for stationary gravity waves most of the time, there was a period of eight days following the major warming with a transparent stratosphere, with conditions allowing gravity waves generated in the lower troposphere to penetrate the stratosphere up to the stratopause and sometimes even into the lower mesosphere. In the middle of February a minor stratospheric warming occurred, which again led to critical levels such that gravity waves were not able to ascend above the middle stratosphere. Due to the unfavourable troposphere and lower stratosphere conditions for gravity wave excitation and propagation, the source of the observed waves in the middle atmosphere is probably different from orography.