EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mesospheric Gravity Wave Momentum Flux Generated by a Thunderstorm System

Steven Smith1, Martin Setvák2, Yuri Yuri Beletsky3, Jeffrey Baumgardner1, and Michael Mendillo1
Steven Smith et al.
  • 1Boston University, Center for Space Physics, Boston, MA 02215, United States of America
  • 2Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Satellite Department, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 3Las Campanas Observatory, Colina El Pino, La Serena, Chile

An extensive and bright mesospheric gravity wave event occurred over the El Leoncito Observatory, Argentina (31.8ºS, 69.3ºW) during the night of 17–18 March 2016. The wave structures were exhibited in the nightglow and were easily visible to naked eye observers, a phenomenon known as a Bright Night. Analysis of a combination of ground-based and space-based data sources indicated that the event was generated by a large thunderstorm complex located to the south-east of the observation site. The event was associated with very large values of wave momentum flux: 150–300 m2s-2, which is over an order of magnitude larger than typical. The routine seasonality of such thunderstorm systems suggests that they may contribute significantly to the role of upward coupling to the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. 

How to cite: Smith, S., Setvák, M., Yuri Beletsky, Y., Baumgardner, J., and Mendillo, M.: Mesospheric Gravity Wave Momentum Flux Generated by a Thunderstorm System, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10128,, 2021.

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