Generation of sporadic sodium layers via turbulent heating of the atmosphere?

Qihou Zhou, John D. Mathews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Scopus citations


    When a gravity wave breaks down, its energy is dumped in a narrow altitude range initiating an increase in temperature, which may consequently generate sporadic sodium layers (SSL) through temperature sensitive chemistries. In order to estimate the temperature change resulted from gravity wave breakdown, the energy dissipation through viscous process is discussed. We show that SSLs can be successfully siimulated by solving the continuity equation with a temperature dependent production function. The generation of the largest SSL observed at Arecibo is shown to be associated with gravity waves exhibiting very short vertical wavelength. Simultaneous sodium and temperature measurements suggest that the heating mechanism proposed here as a possible explanation to the occurrence of SSLs, if viable, is more applicable to low and middle latitudes than high latitudes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1309-1315,1317-1319
    JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Sep 1995

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Environmental Science
    • Geophysics
    • General Engineering
    • Atmospheric Science
    • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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