An Introduction to Atmospheric Gravity Waves

An Introduction to Atmospheric Gravity Waves

2nd Edition - September 28, 2012

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  • Author: Carmen Nappo
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123852236
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123852243

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Gravity waves exist in all types of geophysical fluids, such as lakes, oceans, and atmospheres. They play an important role in redistributing energy at disturbances, such as mountains or seamounts and they are routinely studied in meteorology and oceanography, particularly simulation models, atmospheric weather models, turbulence, air pollution, and climate research. An Introduction to Atmospheric Gravity Waves provides readers with a working background of the fundamental physics and mathematics of gravity waves, and introduces a wide variety of applications and numerous recent advances. Nappo provides a concise volume on gravity waves with a lucid discussion of current observational techniques and instrumentation.An accompanying website contains real data, computer codes for data analysis, and linear gravity wave models to further enhance the reader's understanding of the book's material.

Key Features

  • Companion web site features animations and streaming video
  • Foreword by George Chimonas, a renowned expert on the interactions of gravity waves with turbulence
  • Includes a new application-based component for use in climate and weather predictions


Graduate and advanced undergraduate students, as well as scientists and engineers in government agencies and research laboratories specializing in geophysical fluid dynamics, ocean and atmospheric physics, climate research, air pollution, turbulence, and atmospheric chemistry. (NOAA, NASA, NSF, EPA, etc.)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements




    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 Some Wave Mechanics

    1.3 The Buoyant Force

    1.4 The Boussinesq Approximation


    The Linear Theory

    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 The Taylor– Goldstein Equation

    2.3 A Simple Solution

    2.4 The WKB or “ Slowly Varying” Method

    2.5 Energetics


    Mountain Waves

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Uniform Flow Over a Surface Corrugation

    3.3 The Two-Dimensional Mountain

    3.4 The Three-Dimensional Mountain

    3.5 Nonorographic Gravity Waves


    Ducted Gravity Waves

    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 Wave Reflection and Refraction at an Elevated Layer

    4.3 Wave Trapping, Energy Flux, and Wave Resonance

    4.4 Reflection at the Ground Surface

    4.5 Wave Ducts


    Gravity Wave Instability and Turbulence

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Parcel Exchange Analysis of Flow Stability

    5.3 Wave Instability

    5.4 The Critical Level

    5.5 Neutral, Stable, and Unstable Modes

    5.6 Wave-Modulated Richardson Number

    5.7 Wave–Turbulence Coupling

    5.8 Jefferys’ Roll-Wave Instability Mechanism


    Wave Stress

    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Mathematical Derivation

    6.3 Variation of Wave Stress with Height

    6.4 Mountain Wave Stress

    6.5 Secondary Effects of Wave Drag


    Gravity Waves in the Middle and Upper Atmosphere

    1 Introduction

    2 Background

    3 Interia-Gravity Waves in the Middle Atmosphere

    4 Planetary Waves in the Middle Atmosphere

    5 Midlatitude Wave Spectra

    6 Modeling the Gravity Wave Fluxes in the MUA


    Wave Stress Parameterization

    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 Wave-Saturation Parameterization

    8.3 Parameterization Methods

    8.4 Saturation Limits and Other Problems

    8.5 Problems

    Observations and Measurements of Gravity Waves

    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 Ground-Based Measurements

    9.3 Free-Balloon Soundings

    9.4 Remote Measurements


    Gravity Wave Analyses

    10.1 Introduction

    10.2 Analyses of Tropospheric Gravity Waves

    10.3 Gravity Wave Analyses in the MUA


    The Hydrostatic Atmosphere

    A.1 The Hydrostatic Approximation

    A.2 The Scale Height of the Isothermal Atmosphere

    A.3 Adiabatic Lapse Rate

    A.4 Potential Temperature

    A.5 Boussinesq Relations

    A.6 The Geostrophic Wind

    A.7 The Critical Level

    A.8 Convolution

    A.9 The Eckman Wind Spiral

    A.10 Numerical Methods



    IG Series

Product details

  • No. of pages: 400
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2012
  • Published: September 28, 2012
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123852236
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123852243

About the Author

Carmen Nappo

Carmen Nappo
Carmen Nappo received his Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences from The Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. His research topic was gravity-wave stress over topography in the planetary boundary layer. His professional career began in 1968 at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ. where he performed diagnostic studies and evaluations of global-scale atmospheric models. In 1971, he transferred to the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, in Oak Ridge, TN where we worked until retiring in 2005. In 1994, Dr. Nappo received the American Meteorological Society's Editors Award for his reviews for the Journal of Applied Meteorology and in 2006 he received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Distinguished Career Award. Dr. Nappo has published over 100 scientific papers, seven book chapters, and helped organize international scientific workshops and symposia. He has been a guest scientist and lecturer at universities and institutions in Australia, Germany, South Korea, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey, and the USA. Dr. Nappo resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Joan MacReynolds and their cat Lily.

Affiliations and Expertise

CJN Research Meteorology, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919, USA

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