On shear-generated gravity waves that reach the mesophere. Part II : Wave propagation

Oliver Buhler, ME McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The propagation of Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) shear-generated gravity waves through the summer stratosphere is investigated using ray tracing, taking into account back-reflection as well as wave dissipation due to precritical-layer breaking, radiative damping, and viscous diffusion. It is found that the transmission rate of upward-eastward waves to the mesosphere is surprisingly good, provided that the horizontal scale of the waves is large enough to prevent back-reflection. A rough upper bound on the net momentum Bur into the mesosphere due to a large ensemble of mutually incoherent KH-generated clear-air turbulence events is then estimated, using reasonable-looking assumptions about the statistics of such events. It is found that on this basis the wave source cannot safely be neglected in the global angular momentum budget.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3764-3773
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1999




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