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Reichert, R.; Kaifler, B.; Kaifler, N.; Doernbrack, A.; Rapp, M. and Hormaechea, J. L. (2021): High-Cadence Lidar Observations of Middle Atmospheric Temperature and Gravity Waves at the Southern Andes Hot Spot. In: Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, Vol. 126, No. 22, e2021JD034683

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The Southern Andes are the strongest hot spot for atmospheric gravity waves (GWs) in the stratosphere. Yet, until recently, no high-cadence measurements of GWs within the middle atmosphere were available in this region. Therefore, the COmpact Rayleigh Autonomous Lidar (CORAL) was deployed to the Estacion Astronomica Rio Grande (53.7 degrees S, 67.7 degrees W), Argentina, to obtain temperature profiles up to 100 km altitude. CORAL operates autonomously and obtained measurements during roughly two thirds of all nights between November 2017 and October 2020. The excellent measurement coverage allows for the quantification of GW properties at the hot spot with great detail. The hot spot nature of this region is reflected in nightly mean temperature profiles showing deviations from the monthly mean in the order of 25-55 K in each winter month. This is connected to winter mean growth rates of GW potential energy (E-p), which are to our knowledge the largest ever reported in the stratosphere. The monthly mean E-p profiles show a mesospheric limit of similar to 100 Jkg(-1), indicating a saturated GW spectrum at altitudes above 60 km. The winter mean power spectral density also reaches the saturation limit here. Moreover, we investigated the distribution of vertical wavelengths using our novel diagnostic technique WAVELET-SCAN. It reveals waves with vertical wavelengths that are mostly between 10 and 16 km but also can exceed 25 km in rare occasions.

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