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Conference Papers Year : 2022

The CAIRT Earth Explorer 11 mission: A way towards global GW momentum budgets

Scott Osprey
Martyn Chipperfield
Bernd Funke
Sophie Godin-Beekmann
Kaley Walker


Retrieving global observations of gravity waves (GWs) from recent satellite missions is challenging. Nadir viewing satellites such as AIRS provide directional momentum fluxes, but lack fine vertical resolution and hence observe only those GWs with exceptionally high intrinsic phase speed. Limb scanning instruments such as HIRDLS and SABER have only a single measurement track and hence provide only an estimate of absolute GW momentum flux. In addition, the sparse along-track sampling of these limb sounders introduce uncertainties in horizontal wavelength. GPS-RO can provide GW profile triplets, allowing in principle the horizontal direction of GW propagation to be inferred, but these triplets are rare. Finally, direct wind measurements from Aeolus are restricted in altitude to less than ~25km and only provide the wind component in the direction of the lidar beam from one observational track. In consequence, also Aeolus cannot reveal horizontal propagation direction and GW momentum flux. This situation could be dramatically improved by bringing a limb imager into space. A limb imager combines the very dense spatial sampling of a nadir viewing instrument with the high vertical resolution of a limb sounder. This will provide an almost complete description of the vertical spectrum of GWs, necessary for inferring drag estimates. Such global GW momentum flux data would for the first time allow to retrieve a global momentum budget from the mid-troposphere to the upper mesosphere. The Changing-Atmosphere Infra-Red Tomography (CAIRT) mission candidate for ESA's Earth Explorer 11 proposes a limb imager for spatial sampling of 25 km across-track, 50 km along-track and 1 km in the vertical. From this we expect to infer directional GW momentum fluxes from the tropopause to 70 km or higher. This will allow longstanding scientific questions to be addressed such as the quantification of tropospheric GW sources and their related phase speed spectra and the identification of secondary wave generation in the stratosphere and lower mesosphere. Considering the momentum flux at higher altitudes, secondary wave generation competes with oblique GW propagation which allows GWs from low latitude sources to reach the high latitudes mesosphere and thus avoid critical levels. In general, two-way interaction with the background flow will be considered via the modulation of the GW spectrum by the winds and the mean wind accelerations by the GWs. In this contribution we will outline the CAIRT instrument concept, giving an overview of the mission's objectives and demonstrate its potential using simulated observations.
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Dates and versions

insu-03629236 , version 1 (04-04-2022)



Peter Preusse, Scott Osprey, Inna Polichtchouk, Joern Ungermann, Martyn Chipperfield, et al.. The CAIRT Earth Explorer 11 mission: A way towards global GW momentum budgets. EGU General Assembly 2022, May 2022, Online, Austria. ⟨10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2446⟩. ⟨insu-03629236⟩
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