Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Physics

Department

Physical Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Alan Z. Liu

First Committee Member

Dr. Tao Li

Second Committee Member

Dr. John M. Hughes

Third Committee Member

Dr. Edwin J. Mierkiewicz

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Jonathan B. Snively

Abstract

An image processing algorithm has been developed to analyze data from a NIR All-Sky Imager of OH airglow emission (from about 87 km altitude), located in the Andes, with the purpose of investigating the atmospheric gravity waves generated when low level wind blows over the high mountains (referred to as Mountain Waves). These types of waves are a special case of atmospheric gravity waves, which carry significant momentum and exert strong forcing to the background upper atmosphere. The imager is located at the Andes Lidar Observatory (ALO) at Cerro Pachón, Chile (30°S, 71°W), which also houses a Na Doppler Lidar and other passive optical instruments. This thesis work reports the successful identification of numerous strong mountain wave events during the austral winters (2010 - 2014) when low level horizontal winds are eastward and exceed 40 m/s. These events span hundreds of kilometers in the night sky with average wavelengths of 20 to 40 km. A database of high resolution videos and statistics on the wave parameters has been produced. Additionally, an airglow imager simulation model has been built for testing the image processing algorithm.

Share

COinS