Open Access

Kelvin waves in stratosphere, mesosphere and lower thermosphere temperatures as observed by TIMED/SABER during 2002–2006

  • Jeffrey M. Forbes19Email author,
  • Xiaoli Zhang19,
  • Scott E. Palo19,
  • James Russell29,
  • Christopher J. Mertens39 and
  • Martin Mlynczak39
Earth, Planets and Space200961:BF03353161

Received: 28 September 2007

Accepted: 25 March 2008

Published: 14 May 2009


Temperature measurements from the SABER instrument on the TIMED spacecraft are used to elucidate the properties of Kelvin waves and other equatorial oscillations over the altitude range 20–120 km during 2002–2006. The dominant Kelvin waves transition from long periods (52–10 days) and short wavelengths (9–13 km) in the stratosphere, to shorter periods (2–3 days) and longer wavelengths (35–45 km) in the 80–120 km height region. Ultra-Fast Kelvin Waves (UFKW) with periods of 2.5–4.5 days intermittently exist at amplitudes of order 3–10 K between 80–120 km during all months of the year, with variability at periods typically in the 20–60 day range. An Intra-seasonal oscillation (ISO) of zonal mean temperatures also exists with periods 20–60 days that may be driven by Eliassen-Palm Flux Divergences (EPFD) due, at least in part, to UFKW and migrating diurnal tides.

Key words

SABER (Sounding the Atmosphere using Broadband Emissioni Radiometry)TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics Dynamics)Ultra-Fast Kelvin Waves (UFKW)Intra-seasonal oscillation (ISO)Eliassen-Palm Flux Divergences (EPFD)