Comparison of mesospheric winds from a high-altitude meteorological analysis system and meteor radar observations during the boreal winters of 2009-2010 and 2012-2013
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. 2017, 154 132-166. 10.1016/j.jastp.2016.12.007
We present a study of horizontal winds in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) during the boreal winters of 2009–2010 and 2012–2013 produced with a new high-altitude numerical weather prediction (NWP) system. This system is based on a modified version of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) with an extended vertical domain up to ∼116 km altitude coupled with a hybrid four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) data assimilation system that assimilates both standard operational meteorological observations in the troposphere and satellite-based observations of temperature, ozone and water vapor in the stratosphere and mesosphere. NAVGEM-based MLT analyzed winds are validated using independent meteor radar wind observations from nine different sites ranging from 69°N–67°S latitude. Time-averaged NAVGEM zonal and meridional wind profiles between 75 and 95 km altitude show good qualitative and quantitative agreement with corresponding meteor radar wind profiles. Wavelet analysis finds that the 3-hourly NAVGEM and 1-hourly radar winds both exhibit semi-diurnal, diurnal, and quasi-diurnal variations whose vertical profiles of amplitude and phase are also in good agreement. Wavelet analysis also reveals common time-frequency behavior in both NAVGEM and radar winds throughout the Northern extratropics around the times of major stratospheric sudden warmings (SSWs) in January 2010 and January 2013, with a reduction in semi-diurnal amplitudes beginning around the time of a mesospheric wind reversal at 60°N that precedes the SSW, followed by an amplification of semi-diurnal amplitudes that peaks 10–14 days following the onset of the mesospheric wind reversal. The initial results presented in this study demonstrate that the wind analyses produced by the high-altitude NAVGEM system accurately capture key features in the observed MLT winds during these two boreal winter periods.