Coupling by gravity waves

Inertia-gravity waves (gravity waves, for short) exist due to buoyancy and Coriolis forces and appear as variations of the hydrodynamic variables with typical periods between 15 minutes and 15 hours. Crucial for the vertical coupling of the atmosphere. they determine essentially the dynamics in the mesosphere. Therefore we study the life cycle of gravity waves from their generation in the troposphere through their propagation through the stratosphere until they break in the mesosphere. Thermal tides are a closely related subject.


Basic for the studies are analytical models which are continuously developed further. Numerical simulations are utilizing a variety of mesoscale and global models (for example ICON and KMCM) and linearized versions thereof (LIN-KMCM). For selected case studies, IAP-based observations with radiosondes, radars and lidars are used and compared with operational data.

Recent publications

  • Becker, E., 2017: Mean-Flow Effects of Thermal Tides in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere. J. Atmos. Sci. 74,  6: 2043-2063, doi:10.1175/jas-d-16-0194.1.
  • Hien, S., J. Rolland, S. Borchert, L. Schoon, C. Zülicke & U. Achatz, 2017: Spontaneous gravity wave emission in the differentially heated rotating annulus experiment. J. Fluid Mech.: accepted.
  • Kishore Kumar, G., W. Singer, J. Oberheide, N. Grieger, P. P. Batista, D. M. Riggin, H. Schmidt & B. R. Clemesha, 2014: Diurnal tides at low latitudes: Radar, satellite, and model results. J. Atmos. Sol.-Terr. Phys. 118: 96 - 105. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2013.07.005.
  • Mirzaei, M., C. Zülicke, A. R. Mohebalhojeh, F. Ahmadi-Givi & R. Plougonven, 2014: Structure, energy and parametrization of inertia-gravity waves in dry and moist simulations of a baroclinic wave life cycle. J. Atmos. Sci. 71, 7: 2390 - 2414. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-13-075.1.
  • Mirzaei, M., A. R. Mohebalhojeh, C. Zülicke & R. Plougonven, 2017: On the quantification of imbalance and inertia-gravity waves generated in numerical simulations of moist baroclinic waves using the WRF model. J. Atmos. Sci. 74: 4241-4263, doi:10.1175/jas-d-16-0366.1.
  • Schoon, L. & C. Zülicke, 2017: Diagnosis of Local Gravity Wave Properties during a Sudden Stratospheric Warming. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: in review, doi:10.5194/acp-2017-472,


  • Christoph Zülicke
  • Erich Becker
  • Almut Gaßmann
  • Dieter H.W. Peters
  • Lena Schoon