Articles | Volume 27, issue 1
09 Jan 2009
 | 09 Jan 2009

Reconstruction of the gravity wave field from convective plumes via ray tracing

S. L. Vadas and D. C. Fritts

Abstract. We implement gravity wave (GW) phases into our convective plume and anelastic ray trace models. This allows us to successfully reconstruct the GW velocity, temperature, and density perturbation amplitudes and phases in the Mesosphere-Lower-Thermosphere (MLT) via ray tracing (in real space) those GWs that are excited from a deep convective plume. We find that the ray trace solutions agree very well with the exact, isothermal, zero-wind, Fourier-Laplace solutions in the Boussinesq limit. This comparison also allows us to determine the normalization factor which converts the GW spectral amplitudes to real-space amplitudes in the ray trace model. This normalization factor can then be used for ray tracing GWs through varying temperature and wind profiles. We show that by adding GW reflection off the Earth's surface, the resulting GW spectrum has more power at larger vertical and horizontal wavelengths. We determine the form of the momentum flux and velocity spectra which allows for easy calculation of GW amplitudes in the MLT and thermosphere. Finally, we find that the reconstructed (ray traced) solution for a deep, convective plume with a duration much shorter than the buoyancy period does not equal the Fourier-Laplace Boussinesq solution; this is likely due to errors in the Boussinesq dispersion relation for very high frequency GWs.