Articles | Volume 4, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 4, 809–816, 2004

Special issue: Probing the atmosphere in three dimensions for SCIAMACHY

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 4, 809–816, 2004

  03 Jun 2004

03 Jun 2004

Simultaneous lidar observations of temperatures and waves in the polar middle atmosphere on the east and west side of the Scandinavian mountains: a case study on 19/20 January 2003

U. Blum1, K. H. Fricke1, G. Baumgarten2, and A. Schöch2 U. Blum et al.
  • 1Physikalisches Institut der Universität Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany
  • 2Leibniz-Institut für Atmosphärenphysik e.V., D-18225 Kühlungsborn, Germany

Abstract. Atmospheric gravity waves have been the subject of intense research for several decades because of their extensive effects on the atmospheric circulation and the temperature structure. The U. Bonn lidar at the Esrange and the ALOMAR RMR lidar at the Andøya Rocket Range are located in northern Scandinavia 250 km apart on the east and west side of the Scandinavian mountain ridge. During January and February 2003 both lidar systems conducted measurements and retrieved atmospheric temperatures. On 19/20 January 2003 simultaneous measurements for more than 7 h were possible. Although during most of the campaign time the atmosphere was not transparent for the propagation of orographically induced gravity waves, they were nevertheless observed at both lidar stations with considerable amplitudes during these simultaneous measurements. And while the source of the observed waves cannot be determined unambiguously, the observations show many characteristics of orographically excited gravity waves. The wave patterns at ALOMAR show a random distribution with time whereas at the Esrange a persistency in the wave patterns is observable. This persistency can also be found in the distribution of the most powerful vertical wavelengths. The mode values are both at about 5 km vertical wavelength, however the distributions are quite different, narrow at the Esrange with values from λz=2–6 km and broad at ALOMAR, covering λz=1–12 km vertical wavelength. In particular the difference between the observations at ALOMAR and at the Esrange can be understood by different orographic conditions while the propagation conditions were quite similar. At both stations the waves deposit energy in the atmosphere with increasing altitude, which leads to a decrease of the observed gravity wave potential energy density with altitude. The meteorological situation during these measurements was different from common winter situations. The ground winds were mostly northerlies, changed in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere to westerlies and returned to northerlies in the middle stratosphere.

Final-revised paper