Coexistence of atmospheric gravity waves and boundary layer rolls observed by SAR

Xiaofeng Li, Weizhong Zheng, Xiaofeng Yang, Jun A. Zhang, William G. Pichel, Ziwei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both atmospheric gravity waves (AGW) and marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) rolls are simultaneously observed on an Environmental Satellite (Envisat) advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) image acquired along the China coast on 22 May 2005. The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image covers about 400 km × 400 km of a coastal area of the Yellow Sea. The sea surface imprints of AGW show the patterns of both a transverse wave along the coastal plain and a diverging wave in the lee of Mount Laoshan (1133-m peak), which indicate that terrain forcing affects the formation of AGW. The AGW have a wavelength of 8-10 km and extend about 100 km offshore. Model simulation shows that these waves have an amplitude over 3 km. Finer-scale (~2 km) brushlike roughness features perpendicular to the coast are also observed, and they are interpreted as MABL rolls. The FFT analysis shows that the roll wavelengths vary spatially. The two-way interactive, triply nested grid (9-3-1 km) Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) simulation reproduces AGW-generated wind perturbations that are in phase at all levels, reaching up to the 700-hPa level for the diverging AGW and the 900-hPa level for the transverse AGW. The WRF simulation also reveals that dynamic instability, rather than thermodynamic instability, is the cause for the MABL roll generation. Differences in atmospheric inflection-point level and instability at different locations are reasons why the roll wavelengths vary spatially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3448-3459
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume70
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Gravity waves
  • Marine boundary layer
  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite observations
  • Wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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