Long-term MST radar observations of vertical wave number spectra of gravity waves in the tropical troposphere over Gadanki (13.5° N, 79.2° E): comparison with model spectra
Abstract. The potential utility of Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) radar measurements of zonal, meridional and vertical winds for divulging the gravity wave vertical wave number spectra is discussed. The data collected during the years 1995–2004 are used to obtain the mean vertical wave number spectra of gravity wave kinetic energy in the tropical troposphere over Gadanki (13.5° N, 79.2° E). First, the climatology of 3-dimensional wind components is developed using ten years of radar observations, for the first time, over this latitude. This climatology brought out the salient features of background tropospheric winds over Gadanki. Further, using the second order polynomial fit as background, the day-to-day wind anomalies are estimated. These wind anomalies in the 4–14 km height regions are used to estimate the profiles of zonal, meridional and vertical kinetic energy per unit mass, which are then used to estimate the height profile of total kinetic energy. Finally, the height profiles of total kinetic energy are subjected to Fourier analysis to obtain the monthly mean vertical wave number spectra of gravity wave kinetic energy. The monthly mean vertical wave number spectra are then compared with a saturation spectrum predicted by gravity wave saturation theory. A slope of 5/3 is used for the model gravity wave spectrum estimation. In general, the agreement is good during all the months. However, it is noticed that the model spectrum overestimates the PSD at lower vertical wave numbers and underestimates it at higher vertical wave numbers, which is consistently observed during all the months. The observed discrepancies are attributed to the differences in the slopes of theoretical and observed gravity wave spectra. The slopes of the observed vertical wave number spectra are estimated and compared with the model spectrum slope, which are in good agreement. The estimated slopes of the observed monthly vertical wave number spectra are in the range of −2 to −2.8. The significance of the present study lies in using the ten years of data to estimate the monthly mean vertical wave number spectra of gravity waves, which will find their application in representing the realistic gravity wave characteristics in atmospheric models.