Journal of Geophysical Research
American Geophysical Union
A collaborative radar and imaging study of gravity waves over the Hawaiian Islands was performed during October 1993 as part of the Airborne Lidar and Observations of Hawaiian Airglow 1993/Coupling and Dynamics of Regions Equatorial (ALOHA-93/CADRE) campaign to investigate the propagation characteristics of short-period (<1 hour) waves at nightglow altitudes. The horizontal wavelengths and apparent phase speeds of quasi-monochromatic wave events were measured in four separate nightglow emissions using data obtained by a high-resolution CCD imager. This information was correlated with simultaneous MF radar wind measurements over the same height interval (∼80–100 km) to infer intrinsic wave parameters in each case. Correlating the two data sets allowed the determination of the local vertical wavenumber for each event, in particular whether it be real (indicative of freely propagating waves) or imaginary (indicative of ducted or evanescent waves). The results of this study indicate a preponderance of ducted or evanescent waves at 80–100 km during the time of the observations, with up to ∼75% of the events recorded exhibiting ducted or evanescent behavior. Also noted was a tendency for ducted behavior to be more prevalent among waves with shorter horizontal wavelengths, in agreement with Doppler ducting theory. These results suggest that ducted waves are relatively common in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere region, at least over the mid-Pacific Ocean. As small-scale waves which are ducted have the potential to travel much longer horizontal distances than freely propagating waves, the frequency of their occurrence should be taken into account in efforts to quantify gravity wave effects at these altitudes.
Isler, J.R., M.J. Taylor and D.C. Fritts, Observational evidence of wave ducting in the mesosphere, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 26301, 1997.