Impact of gravity wave drag on the thermospheric circulation: Implementation of a nonlinear gravity wave parameterization in a whole-atmosphere model

Yasunobu Miyoshi, Erdal Yiğit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To investigate the effects of the gravity wave (GW) drag on the general circulation in the thermosphere, a nonlinear GW parameterization that estimates the GW drag in the whole-atmosphere system is implemented in a whole-atmosphere general circulation model (GCM). Comparing the simulation results obtained with the whole-atmosphere scheme with the ones obtained with a conventional linear scheme, we study the GW effects on the thermospheric dynamics for solstice conditions. The GW drag significantly decelerates the mean zonal wind in the thermosphere. The GWs attenuate the migrating semidiurnal solar-tide (SW2) amplitude in the lower thermosphere and modify the latitudinal structure of the SW2 above a 150 km height. The SW2 simulated by the GCM based on the nonlinear whole-atmosphere scheme agrees well with the observed SW2. The GW drag in the lower thermosphere has zonal wavenumber 2 and semidiurnal variation, while the GW drag above a 150 km height is enhanced in high latitude. The GW drag in the thermosphere is a significant dynamical factor and plays an important role in the momentum budget of the thermosphere. Therefore, a GW parameterization accounting for thermospheric processes is essential for coarse-grid whole-atmosphere GCMs in order to more realistically simulate the atmosphere-ionosphere system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-969
Number of pages15
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 17 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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