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Investigating Seasonal Variability in Short-Period Gravity Waves Over Bear Lake Observatory, Utah

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The Center for Atmospheric and Space Sciences has operated a sensitive digital camera at Bear Lake Observatory (41.6° N 111.6° W) since 1999 recording images of structure in the visible and near infrared airglow emissions which occur naturally in layers within the earths upper atmosphere (altitude range 80 - 100 km). Atmospheric gravity waves, generated in the lower atmosphere by strong weather disturbances1 propagate upwards and can be observed in the different airglow emissions (which occur at different heights) as wave patterns. Analysis of these image data enables us to investigate the characteristics of these waves (horizontal wavelength, velocity and direction of motion) as well as their occurrence frequency and duration. This study focuses on characterizing seasonal properties of these waves during a one year period (October 2003 - September 2004) and has revealed copious gravity wave events exhibiting a strong seasonal variability in their direction of propagation.


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