For the first time, scientists have simulated what gravity waves look like as they ripple upward through the atmosphere.
via Atmos News:
For the first time, scientists have found a way to “watch” the propagation of gravity waves toward space—and the view is captivating (watch video). The trick, according to a team of researchers led by NCAR Senior Scientist Hanli Liu, was to push the NCAR-based Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model to a resolution that is fine enough to pick up gravity waves at their source, when they’re still relatively small.
“We’ve never seen a global picture of gravity waves in the upper atmosphere before, either from observations or simulations, even though we have suspected their importance up there,” said Liu, who studies the upper atmosphere at NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory. “This is the first time we have been able to capture these waves with a computer model of the whole atmosphere.”
The standard version of the model gets only a blurry look at phenomena that take place on scales less than 2,000 km (about 1,243 miles) across—and it’s blind to anything smaller than 200 km. The higher-resolution model has much sharper vision all the way down to 200 km. The intense computing power of the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center’s Yellowstone system made the higher-resolution runs possible.