Doppler ducting of short-period gravity waves by midlatitude tidal wind structure

Jonathan B. Snively, Victor P. Pasko, Michael J. Taylor, Wayne K. Hocking

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27 Scopus citations


Multiwavelength airglow image data depicting a short-period (∼4.9 min) atmospheric gravity wave characterized by a sharp leading front have been analyzed together with synoptic meteor radar wind data recorded simultaneously from Bear Lake Observatory, Utah (41.6°N, 111.6°W). The wind data suggest the presence of a semidiurnal tide with horizontal winds peaking at around 60 m/s along the SSE direction of motion (170° from north) of this short-period wave. It was found that the gravity wave was most probably ducted because of the Doppler shift imposed by this wind structure. A marked 180° phase shift was observed between the near-infrared OH and the OI (557.7 nm) emissions. Numerical simulation results for similar ducted waves excited by idealized model sources suggest that the phase shift between the wave-modulated airglow intensities may be explained simply by chemical processes rather than by wave dynamics. Phase velocities of simulated waves, however, appear higher than those of observed waves, suggesting the importance of tidal thermal structure in determining the Doppler-ducted wave characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA03304
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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