EOMF-33. Gravity Wave Properties from the Ground to the Thermosphere at McMurdo, Antarctica

Gravity waves (GWs) transport energy and momentum throughout the atmosphere and are a key component of Earth’s climate system as an effective coupling mechanism and source of variability in the global atmosphere. Most atmospheric models do not operate at the high resolutions needed to capture the majority of GW processes, so there is a critical need for observational studies to better understand the role of GWs in atmospheric dynamics and coupling. GWs exist on a wide spectrum of spatial and temporal scales. Different GW sources produce waves with different characteristics, while background atmospheric conditions modify these characteristics. The aim of this work is to investigate the dominant sources and drivers of variability of GWs in the upper atmosphere through a rigorous analysis of wave properties from the ground to the thermosphere. The McMurdo lidar campaign has produced a rich dataset of 10+ years of GW observations from the stratosphere to the lower thermosphere and shown that the upper atmosphere above McMurdo is a highly dynamic environment dominated by persistent and strong GW activity. We have applied a novel automatic wave recognition and extraction methodology to 10 years of lidar observations in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (81 – 105 km) to statistically characterize the spectral properties of GWs in this region. This work will involve the expansion of this analysis to lidar observations in the upper stratosphere (30 – 60 km) and McMurdo radiosonde observations to characterize GW properties at lower altitudes. The final product will be a statistically significant, observational baseline of GW properties from the ground to the thermosphere, which will facilitate investigations into GW sources and variability, as well as how these factors change with height. These results will generate new insights into the GW processes acting on a global scale and could potentially aid in the development of more accurate atmospheric and space weather models, which currently lack realistic representations of GW activity.