Global Measurements of Stratospheric Mountain Waves from Space

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Science  19 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5444, pp. 1534-1537
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5444.1534

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Temperatures acquired by the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) during shuttle mission STS-66 have provided measurements of stratospheric mountain waves from space. Large-amplitude, long-wavelength mountain waves at heights of 15 to 30 kilometers above the southern Andes Mountains were observed and characterized, with vigorous wave breaking inferred above 30 kilometers. Mountain waves also occurred throughout the stratosphere (15 to 45 kilometers) over a broad mountainous region of central Eurasia. The global distribution of mountain wave activity accords well with predictions from a mountain wave model. The findings demonstrate that satellites can provide the global data needed to improve mountain wave parameterizations and hence global climate and forecast models.

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