A case study of long gravity wave crests in noctilucent clouds and their origin in the upper tropospheric jet stream

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Published: 2016-11-01

DOI: 10.1002/2016jd025422

Affiliations: 11

Authors: 14

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Research Highlight

Scientists put their heads in the night clouds



Scientists have investigated atmospheric gravity waves in detail, bringing a better understanding of how and where they are generated. Their study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

An international team of physicists, which included researchers from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, captured images of atmospheric gravity waves in noctilucent (night) clouds — delicate cloud-like structures made from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere — using three synchronized cameras positioned several tens of kilometres apart, and used a triangulation technique to estimate the height and horizontal characteristics of the waves.

By simulating the rays’ interactions with a reflecting surface and combining it with an analysis of global meteorological data sets, they concluded that the waves were formed from the balancing of the Coriolis force with horizontal pressures, and that the upper tropospheric jet stream was their most likely source.

Supported content

  1. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 121,14102-14116 (2016). doi: 10.1002/2016jd025422
Institutions Share
Saint Petersburg State University (SPbU), Russia 0.14
A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics, RAS, Russia 0.14
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Russia 0.14
Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), Sweden 0.11
Russian State Hydrometeorological University (RSHU), Russia 0.07
Vilnius University (VU), Lithuania 0.07
NLC Network, Canada 0.07
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canada 0.07
National Research Center Kurchatov Institute (NRCKI), Russia 0.07
Novosibirsk State University (NSU), Russia 0.07
Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Russia 0.04