Articles | Volume 32, issue 11
Regular paper
13 Nov 2014
Regular paper |  | 13 Nov 2014

Long-term lidar observations of wintertime gravity wave activity over northern Sweden

B. Ehard, P. Achtert, and J. Gumbel

Abstract. This paper presents an analysis of gravity wave activity over northern Sweden as deduced from 18 years of wintertime lidar measurements at Esrange (68° N, 21° E). Gravity wave potential energy density (GWPED) was used to characterize the strength of gravity waves in the altitude regions 30–40 km and 40–50 km. The obtained values exceed previous observations reported in the literature. This is suggested to be due to Esrange's location downwind of the Scandinavian mountain range and due to differences in the various methods that are currently used to retrieve gravity wave parameters. The analysis method restricted the identification of the dominating vertical wavelengths to a range from 2 to 13 km. No preference was found for any wavelength in this window. Monthly mean values of GWPED show that most of the gravity waves' energy dissipates well below the stratopause and that higher altitude regions show only small dissipation rates of GWPED. Our analysis does not reproduce the previously reported negative trend in gravity wave activity over Esrange. The observed inter-annual variability of GWPED is connected to the occurrence of stratospheric warmings with generally lower wintertime mean GWPED during years with major stratospheric warmings. A bimodal GWPED occurrence frequency indicates that gravity wave activity at Esrange is affected by both ubiquitous wave sources and orographic forcing.