Atmospheric gravity waves

Scientific aims

Atmospheric gravity waves play an important role in the global atmospheric circulation by their impulse and energy transport. They are therefore an important link for the coupling of different atmospheric layers from the troposphere through the stratosphere up to the meso- and lower thermosphere.

Main topics of the investigations are directed to:

  • Complex analysis of atmospheric gravity waves for selected, characteristic events in mid-latitudes and in Northern Scandinavia using one or several radar equipments, partly supported by measuring data derived from simultaneous radiosonde, lidar, and rocket observations.
  • Investigations of the sources of gravity waves, their propagation through the tropo-, strato-, and mesosphere (filtering of gravity waves) and their dissipation in the meso-/lower thermosphere (connection to turbulence).
  • Derivation of climatology of gravity wave activity in connection with derived turbulence parameters and their dependence on solar activity.
  • Contribution of gravity waves for coupling between different atmospheric regions during stratospheric warming events.
  • Analysis of multiple layered structures in polar mesospheric summer echoes (PMSE) and their connection to atmospheric gravity waves.

Methods and instruments

  • VHF-Radars in Kühlungsborn (OSWIN) and Andenes (ALWIN)
  • MF-Radars in Juliusruh, Andenes and Saura
  • Radiosonde observations in Kühlungsborn and Andenes
  • RMR-Lidar in Andenes as well as RMR- and Potassium Lidar in Kühlungsborn
  • Rocket measurements in Andenes (Andoya Rocket Range)


  • Departments „Optical Soundings“ and „Theory and Modelling“ of the IAP
  • V. Lehmann, Aerologisches Observatorium Lindenberg of DWD
  • M. Gausa, Andoya Rocket Range, Norway
  • S. Kirkwood, P. Dalin, IRF Kiruna, Sweden
  • W. Hocking, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada