Remote Observation of Gravity Waves with Multiple Satellite Data Sets

Dana Mcguffin | 23-FS-036

Project Overview

Small-scale atmospheric gravity waves (GWs), which are formed due to topography (i.e. mountains), convection, or strong wind jets, transport energy and momentum across long distances with wavelengths from tens to hundreds of km. GWs drive high altitude weather phenomena with deviations in atmospheric density and turbulence that accelerate stratospheric winds, producing the mean circulation, Quasi Biennial Oscillation (QBO), and breakdown of the polar vortex. Therefore, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the behavior of the upper atmosphere, it is vital to observe and understand these upper atmospheric gravity waves. Four different instruments able to observe GWs are joining the suite of instruments on the International Space Station.

In this project, we investigated whether measurements from these four different satellite-based instruments can be combined to observe GWs propagating from the troposphere to ionosphere. To assess the feasibility of combining these datasets, we simulated measurements of convective GWs from each of the instruments. This analysis shows that three of the instruments can observe GW propagation characteristics from the stratosphere to the ionosphere. The remaining spectrograph instrument can provide additional data on the ionospheric composition. A data fusion technique combining data from these four instruments would provide insight into the characteristics, like length scales and amplitudes, of GWs as they propagate from the stratosphere towards the ionosphere. This combined dataset could help constrain models of the whole atmosphere, stratospheric circulation, and high altitude weather.

Mission Impact

This project investigated observing upper atmosphere dynamics to address DOE's energy and environmental security missions. In addition, this project investigated the feasibility of measuring small-scale atmospheric phenomena with new and upcoming instruments on the international space station. These observations have potential to enable new ways of responding to various NNSA missions. This work advanced Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL's) Core Competency in Earth and Atmospheric Science and established connections between LLNL and the Space Science Division of the Naval Research Laboratory as well as the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

McGuffin, D L, Beydoun, H, Budzien, S A, Cameron-Smith, P J, Dymond, K F, Horsley, M A, and Zawdie, K A. 2023. "Observing atmospheric gravity waves from the Space Station." Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance (AMOS) Technologies Conference Proceedings, Maui, HI, Sep. 19-22, 2023.

D. McGuffin, D., H. Beydoun, P. Cameron-Smith, K. F. Dymond, S. A. Budzien, K. A. Zawdie, and M. Horsley, "Observing Atmospheric Gravity Waves from the Space Station" (Poster Presentation, AMOS Conference, Maui, HI, Sep. 19-22, 2023).

D. McGuffin, H. Beydoun, P. Cameron-Smith, K. F. Dymond, S. A. Budzien, K. A. Zawdie, and M. Horsley, "Observing Atmospheric Gravity Waves from the Space Station" (Poster Presentation, Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science CEDAR Conference, San Diego, CA, June 25-30, 2023).