Numerical Simulation of Orographic Gravity Waves Observed Over Syowa Station: Wave Propagation and Breaking in the Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere


A high-resolution model in conjunction with realistic background wind and temperature profiles has been used to simulate gravity waves (GWs) that were observed by an atmospheric radar at Syowa Station, Antarctica on 18 May 2021. The simulation successfully reproduces the observed features of the GWs, including the amplitude of vertical wind disturbances in the troposphere and vertical fluxes of northward momentum in the lower stratosphere. In the troposphere, ship-wave responses are seen along the coastal topography, while in the stratosphere, critical-level filtering due to the directional shear causes significant change of the wave pattern. The simulation shows the multi-layer structure of small-scale turbulent vorticity around the critical level, where turbulent energy dissipation rates estimated from the radar spectral widths were large, indicative of GW breaking. Another interesting feature of the simulation is a wave pattern with a horizontal wavelength of about 25 km, whose phase lines are aligned with the front of turbulent wake downwind of a hydraulic jump that occurs over steep terrain near the coastline. It is suggested that the GWs are likely radiated from the adiabatic lift of an airmass along an isentropic surface hump near the ground, which explains certain features of the observed gravity waves in the lower stratosphere.

Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmosphere