GEOSPACE RESEARCH INC
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
The investigator will utilize satellite altimetry data to identify the specific ocean source responsible for thermospheric Acoustic Gravity Wave observations made at the Arecibo observatory. The Arecibo Observatory is the largest atmospheric radar in the world and the research will make full use of its high atmospheric resolving capabilities.
The investigator and colleagues have previously discovered that a continuum of waves is present in the upper atmosphere above Arecibo Observatory (AO), Puerto Rico. It has been determined that these fluctuations are the result of the propagation of neutral atmospheric waves through the ionized portion of the upper atmosphere from 120 km altitude to heights greater than 650 km.
The research effort will investigate whether the thermospheric wave production process is unique to the ocean near Arecibo (e.g., related to the Puerto Rican Trench), or whether it can be found at other global locations. A better understanding of these processes will greatly improve our understanding of gravity wave propagation.
Attention will be focused on identifying ocean structures capable of producing a broad spectrum of horizontal AGW wavelengths and periods in the range of 5-90 min. Satellite altimetry measurements from repeat orbits will be used to search for far infragravity ocean waves and determine surface wavelength and direction of wave motion. In addition other ocean features created by the presence of the Antilles current will be examined as well as the nature of the mesoscale eddies. In addition, signs of Ekman upwelling, seiches, edge waves, or Kelvin waves will be investigated in detail to determine their impact on Acoustic Gravity Wave propagation and thermospheric signatures observed by Arecibo.
The investigator is involving young undergraduates students, who will participate in the data analysis as well as receive a valuable learning experience.