Turbulence in the stratosphere


Gravity waves and turbulence in the atmosphere play a crucial role in understanding the energy and momentum transfer as well as the trace gas distribution. Breaking gravity waves produce structures in the temperature and wind fields down to the size of turbulence cells. At the same time new gravity waves can be induced. Stratospheric turbulence is therefore very important for understanding of the propagation of gravity waves into the mesosphere as well as understanding the stratosphere itself. High resolution measurements of turbulence in this altitude range are still technical challenging. In-situ measurements are performed either below 15 km with aircrafts or above 60 km with sounding rockets. Radar and lidar systems are used for turbulence investigation within the stratosphere, but these systems can’t provide a sufficient resolution for small scale turbulence. Balloon borne measurements with so called “zero-pressure” balloons were primarily operated during the 1980’s. The technical principle developed at that time will be picked up again within this project. Thereby a method to identify turbulent structures in the horizontal wind field from the ground up to 35 km is realised at the IAP.



  • The activities described here are part of the Leibniz Graduate School ILWAO.

Wind fluctuations

Wind fluctuations from turbulence soundings with CTA