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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-105
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-105
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Apr 2019

Research article | 10 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Lee waves detection over the Mediterranean Sea using the Advanced Infra-Red WAter Vapour Estimator (AIRWAVE) Total Column Water Vapor (TCWV) dataset

Enzo Papandrea1,2, Stefano Casadio1,3, Elisa Castelli2, Bianca Maria Dinelli2, and Mario Marcello Miglietta2 Enzo Papandrea et al.
  • 1Serco Italia s.p.a., via Sciadonna 24-26, 00044 Frascati, Italy
  • 2Istituto di Scienze dell’Atmosfera e del Clima, ISAC-CNR, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
  • 3European Space Agency (ESA/ESRIN), Via Galileo Galilei 1, 00044 Frascati, Italy

Abstract. Atmospheric gravity waves generated downstream by the orography in a stratified airflow are known as lee waves. In the present study, such mesoscale patterns have been detected, over water and in clear sky conditions, using the Advanced Infra-Red WAter Vapour Estimator (AIRWAVE) Total Column Water Vapour (TCWV) dataset, which contains about 20-year day-night products, obtained from the thermal infra-red measurements of the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) instrument series. The good accuracy of such data, along 5 with the native 1 × 1 km2 spatial resolution, allows the investigation of small scale features as the lee waves. In this work, we focused on the Mediterranean region, the largest semi-enclosed basin on the Earth. The peculiarities of this area, which is characterized by complex orography and rough coastlines, lead indeed to a possible development of these structures both over land and over sea. We developed an automatic tool for the rapid detection of areas with high probability of lee waves occurrence, exploiting the TCWV variability in spatial regions 0.15° × 0.15° wide. Through this analysis, several occurrences of structures connected with lee waves have been observed. The waves are detected in spring, fall and summer seasons, with TCWV values usually falling in the range from 15 to 35 kg m−2. In this article we describe some cases over the Central (Italy) and the Eastern Mediterranean basin (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus). We compared a case of perturbed AIRWAVE TCWV fields due to lee waves occurred over the Tyrrhenian Sea on 18 July 1997 with the sea surface winds from the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which sounded the same geographical area, finding a good agreement. Another case has been investigated in detail: on 2 August 2002 the Aegean sea region was almost simultaneously sounded by both ATSR-2 and AATSR instruments. The AIRWAVE TCWV fields derived from the two sensors were successfully compared with the vertically integrated water vapour content simulated with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) numerical model for the same time period, confirming our findings. Wave parameters such as amplitude, wavelength and phase, are described through the use of the Morlet ContinuousWavelet Transformation (CWT). The performed analysis derived typical wavelengths from 6 to 8 km and amplitude that may extend up to 20 kg m−2.

Enzo Papandrea et al.
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Enzo Papandrea et al.
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Short summary
Lee waves have been detected in clear sky conditions over the Mediterranean Sea using the Total Column Water Vapour (TCWV) fields. The products were generated applying the Advanced Infra-Red WAter Vapour Estimator (AIRWAVE) retrieval algorithm to the thermal infra-red measurements of the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) instrument series. A subset of the occurrences has been compared with both independent observations and model simulations.
Lee waves have been detected in clear sky conditions over the Mediterranean Sea using the Total...
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