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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 31, issue 10
Ann. Geophys., 31, 1709–1719, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-31-1709-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 31, 1709–1719, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-31-1709-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 15 Oct 2013

Regular paper | 15 Oct 2013

Extracting gravity wave parameters during the September 2002 Southern Hemisphere major sudden stratospheric warming using a SANAE imaging riometer

N. Mbatha1,2, V. Sivakumar2, H. Bencherif3, and S. Malinga1 N. Mbatha et al.
  • 1South African National Space Agency, Space Science, P.O. Box 32, Hermanus 7200, South Africa
  • 2School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4000, South Africa
  • 3Laboratoire de l'Atmosphère et des Cyclones, UMR 8105 CNRS, Université de La Réunion, 97715 Saint-Denis, Cedex 9, La Réunion, France

Abstract. Using absorption data measured by imaging riometer for ionospheric studies (IRIS) located at the South Africa National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE), Antarctica (72° S, 3° W), we extracted the parameters of gravity waves (GW) of periods between 40 and 50 min during late winter/spring of the year 2002, a period of the unprecedented major sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) in the Southern Hemisphere middle atmosphere. During this period, an unprecedented substantial increase of temperature by about 25–30 K throughout the stratosphere was observed. During the period of the occurrence of the major stratospheric warming, there was a reduction of both the GW horizontal phase speeds and the horizontal wavelengths at 90 km. The GW phase speeds and horizontal wavelengths were observed to reach minimum values of about 7 m s−1 and 19 km, respectively, while during the quiet period the average value of the phase speed and horizontal wavelength was approximately 23 m s−1 and 62 km, respectively. The observed event is discussed in terms of momentum flux and also a potential interaction of gravity waves, planetary waves and mean circulation.

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