DOI: 10.1029/2023jd038988 ISSN: 2169-897X

Planetary Wave Modulation of Gravity Waves Over the Andes in 2016

Jeff France, Mark Hervig, Brentha Thurairajah, Cora E. Randall, V. Lynn Harvey, Jeffrey M. Forbes, Scott Bailey
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics


The Andes account for the largest source of orographic gravity waves (GWs) in the middle atmosphere. This results from persistent, strong zonal winds at the surface encountering the north‐south mountain chain, producing strong orographic lift, and resulting GWs. Here, we consider GWs in the stratosphere and mesosphere above the Andes as observed by the Cloud Imaging and Particle Size instrument, the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment on the AIM satellite, and the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry instrument onboard the Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics satellite. GW variability is considered in the context of the location of the stratospheric wintertime westerly jet and planetary wave (PW) amplitude and phase. The occurrence of GWs in the middle and upper atmosphere depends not only on tropospheric sources, like the Andes, but also on the background winds through which they propagate. Results suggest that the propagation of GWs into the mesosphere is well correlated with winds throughout the middle and upper stratosphere. PWs cause the westerly jet to move over the Andes, resulting in an increase in GW amplitude throughout the middle and upper stratosphere. The evolution and variability of GWs are tied closely to the phase of the PW‐1 and are linked to PW‐2 when the PW amplitudes are sufficiently large. GW amplitude, as observed by all three data sets, increases in the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere when the trough of the PW‐1 in the stratosphere is over the Andes.

More from our Archive