Articles | Volume 26, issue 7
23 Jul 2008
 | 23 Jul 2008

Intensive radiosonde observations of gravity waves in the lower atmosphere over Yichang (111°18´ E, 30°42´ N), China

Shao Dong Zhang, Fan Yi, Chun Ming Huang, and Ze Yu Chen

Abstract. The characteristics of dynamical and thermal structures and inertial gravity waves (GWs) in the troposphere and lower stratosphere (TLS) over Yichang (111°18´ E, 30°42´ N) were statistically studied by using the data from intensive radiosonde observations in August 2006 (summer month) and January 2007 (winter month) on an eight-times-daily basis. The background atmosphere structures observed in different months exhibit evident seasonal differences, and the zonal wind in winter has a prominent tropospheric jet with a maximum wind speed of about 60 ms−1 occurring at the height of 11.5 km. The statistical results of the inertial GWs in our two-month observations are generally consistent with previous observations in the mid-latitudes. In the summer month, the mean intrinsic frequency and vertical wavelength of the inertial GWs in the troposphere are still larger than those in the lower stratosphere with the absence of intensive tropospheric jets, suggesting that the Doppler shifting due to the tropospheric jets cannot completely account for the differences between the GWs in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. Compared with the observations in the summer month, some interesting seasonal characteristics of the GWs are revealed by the observations in the winter month: 1) more and stronger tropospheric GWs are observed in the winter month; 2) less and weaker GWs are observed in the lower stratosphere in winter; 3) the ratio of the mean GW kinetic energy density to potential energy density is smaller than 1 in winter, which contrasts to that in summer. Most of the seasonal differences can be explained by the intensive tropospheric jets in winter. In both the summer and winter months, the fitted spectral slopes of the vertical wave number spectra for GWs are generally smaller than the canonical spectral slope of −3. Correlation analyses suggest that the tropospheric jet induced wind shear is the dominant source for GWs in both the troposphere and lower stratosphere. Moreover, the tropospheric (lower stratospheric) GWs are found to be modulated by the quasi-7-day (10-day) PW, and the impacts of the diurnal tide on the GWs are relatively weak.