National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Living With A Star

Targeted Research and Technology

Experimental and Modeling Studies of Potential Gravity Wave Seeding of Plasma Dynamics at Equatorial Latitudes

ROSES ID: NRA-03-OSS-01      Selection Year: 2004      

Program Element: Independent Investigation: LWS

Principal Investigator: David Fritts

Affiliation(s): NorthWest Research Associates, Inc.

Project Member(s):
Paxton, Larry Jason COI Johns Hopkins University
Riggin, Dennis COI Northwest Research Associates
Taylor, Michael COI Utah State University
Fejer, Bela Gyula COI Utah State University
Vadas, Sharon Lynn COI NorthWest Research Associates, Inc.
Fritts, Dave Authorizing Official NorthWest Research Associates, Inc.
Pinto, Osmar Collaborator Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE
Sobral, JosÈ Humberto A. Collaborator Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE
Sao Sabbas, Fernanda T Collaborator Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE
Pipkin, Yvonne Contact in case of award NorthWest Research Associates, Inc.
Heelis, Roderick A Other Professional University of Texas Dallas


Atmospheric gravity waves (GWs) have been suggested for many years to play a role in seeding Rayleigh-Taylor instability, equatorial spread-F (ESF), and plasma bubbles penetrating to high altitudes. But despite numerous modeling studies and measurements suggesting such a role, no definitive experiments have occurred. Our goal is to combine comprehensive ground-based optical and radar instrumentation, in situ and nadir imaging satellite observations, and modeling of GWs arising from tropical convection and their propagation to high altitudes to document such seeding, if it occurs, and to assess the geophysical conditions favoring seeding and controlling GW influences on ESF and bubble statistics and morphology. Our research team represents a collaboration between three research groups and two satellite PIs who will jointly perform two measurement programs in Brazil coordinated with TIMED and ROCSAT-1 or C/NOFS. Our method will be to observe GWs arising from deep convection in central and eastern Brazil as they propagate through the mesopause and into the thermosphere, to measure the responses in the bottomside F layer, and to correlate these responses with satellite and radar observations of ESF and bubble structures at greater altitudes. Modeling efforts will assess and confirm the links between GW sources and ionospheric effects.


Performance YearReferenceInvestigation TypeActions
1David Fritts / NorthWest Research Associates, Inc.-Experimen...
not set


Performance YearReferenceActions
1Vadas, S.; Fritts, D.; (2006), Coupling of the lower atmo...

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