Graphs from the paper.
Horizontal distance and altitude cross-section of perturbations of (top) horizontal wind, (middle) vertical wind, (bottom) temperature at 18, 25, 38, 50, and 62 minutes (left to right) after a shear flow condition is input. Credit: Dong et al. [2023], Figure 2
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: Geophysical Research Letters

Gravity waves have been recognized to play significant roles in the atmosphere, extending from the surface to space. Studying mechanisms of gravity wave generation is important to understand the whole atmosphere.

Dong et al. [2023] use a high-resolution numerical model of the compressible atmosphere to show that atmospheric gravity waves generated by an instability in wind shear propagate upward to higher altitudes where gravity waves do not reach directly from below. The generated gravity waves have high frequencies, small horizontal wavelengths, and large vertical group velocities, and could provide intense impacts on the atmosphere located above the wind shear. This suggests that the instability in wind shear can be a source of gravity waves propagating into the mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere. Some gravity waves reaching the ionosphere may trigger plasma instability causing ionospheric irregularities and disturbances.

Citation: Dong, W., Fritts, D. C., Liu, A. Z., Lund, T. S., & Liu, H.-L. (2023). Gravity waves emitted from Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities. Geophysical Research Letters, 50, e2022GL102674.

—Yuichi Otsuka, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

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