The behavior of temperature and wind profiles observed on 21 October 1993 in the ALOHA-93 Campaign is theoretically and numerically analyzed. A sudden temperature rise took place in a very narrow vertical region (3-4 km) at about 87 km. Simultaneously observed radar wind profiles and mesospheric airglow wave structures that show a horizontal phase speed of 35 m/s and a period of about half an hour strongly suggest that a critical level may occur in the proximity of that altitude and that the energy dissipation due to the interaction of the gravity wave with the critical level causes the temperature rise. The numerical model used is a solution to the gravity wave - mean-flow interaction in the critical layer, including a simple cooling mechanism and a wave-energy dissipation simulated by the "optical model* technique. The solutions for the temperature variations so obtained show good agreement with the observed temperature profiles at different times, providing a quantitative explanation for the temperature inversion layer as a phenomenon of gravity wave - critical layer interaction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)