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An Atmospheric Soliton Observed With Doppler Radar, Differential Absorption Lidar,and A Molecular Doppler Lidar


Airborne Leandre II differential absorption lidar (DIAL), S-band dual-polarization Doppler radar (SPol), and Goddard Lidar Observatory for Winds (GLOW) Doppler lidar data are used, in conjunction with surface mesonet and special sounding data, to derive the structure and dynamics of a bore and associated solitary wave train (soliton) that were generated in southwestern Kansas during the International H20 Project (IHOP_2002). Vertical cross sections of S-Pol reflectivity, S-Pol radial velocity, and DIAL water vapor mixing ratio show a stunning amplitude-ordered train of trapped solitary waves. DIAL data reveal that the leading wave in the soliton increasingly flattened with time as the soliton dissipated. A method is developed for using the GLOW Doppler winds to obtain the complex two-dimensional vertical circulation accompanying the dissipating soliton. The results show multiple circulations identical in number to the oscillations seen in the S-Pol and DIAL data. The leading updraft occurred precisely at the time that the bore passed over the GLOW facility, as well as when the photon count values suddenly ramped up (suggesting lifting of the low-level inversion by the bore). Additional evidence in support of the validity of the results is provided by the fact that layer displacements computed using the derived vertical motions agree well with those implied by the changes in height of the DIAL mixing ratio surfaces. The depth and speed of propagation of the bore seen in the DIAL and surface mesoanalyses were shown to be consistent with the predictions from bore hydraulic theory. Analysis of National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Integrated Sounding System (ISS) data shows that a highly pronounced curvature in the profile of bore-relative winds, related to the existence of a very strong low-level jet, effectively trapped the upward leakage of solitary wave energy below 3 km. This finding explains the trapped lee wave–type structures seen in the DIAL, GLOW, and S-Pol data.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Fiscal Year
Publication Name
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Published On
August 01, 2008
Publisher Name
Amer Meteorological Soc
Print Volume


Not available


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.

  • Brian D. Jamison - Not Positioned Gsl
    Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University
    NOAA/Global Systems Laboratory