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Hunting for Gravity Waves

Dr. Lars Hoffmann, JSC

This animation shows monthly occurrence frequencies of gravity waves and deep convection. Statistics were derived from measurements of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite during the years 2003 to 2007. Fast detection algorithms were developed to screen a vast number of observations (about 5.4 billion satellite footprints or 30 TByte of data) and to provide results at high spatial resolution on a global scale. Gravity waves are small-scale atmospheric phenomena that play an important role in driving the general atmospheric circulation. Statistical data on gravity waves and deep convection occurrence are highly needed to validate parameterization schemes for convective waves in climate models.