TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 51 (Nos. 7, 8), pp. 751-761, 1999

The gradient wind in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere

Ruth S. Lieberman

Colorado Research Associates, 3380 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301, U.S.A.

(Received August 10, 1998; Revised November 19, 1999; Accepted November 19, 1999)

Abstract: HRDI zonally averaged daytime temperatures are used to compute the gradient wind in the 65-105 km range. Results are compared with independently measured HRDI zonal mean zonal winds. The gradient wind captures the essential features of the observed wind field in the summertime midlatitudes, including the stratospheric easterly (westward) jet and the reversal to westerly (eastward) winds in the lower thermosphere. The consistency between HRDI and gradient winds diminishes at tropical latitudes, due to substantial tidal contamination of daytime temperatures used to compute the gradient wind.

Corresponding author E-mail: ruth@colorado-research.com

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