We report the first lidar observations of vertical fluxes of sensible heat and meteoric Na from 78 to 110 km in late May 2020 at McMurdo, Antarctica. The measurements include contributions from the complete temporal spectrum of gravity waves and demonstrate that wave-induced vertical transport associated with atmospheric mixing by non-breaking gravity waves, Stokes drift imparted by the wave spectrum, and perturbed chemistry of reactive species, can make significant contributions to constituent and heat transport in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). The measured sensible heat and Na fluxes exhibit downward peaks at 84 km (−3.0 Kms−1 and −5.5 × 104 cm−2s−1) that are ∼4 km lower than the flux peak altitudes observed at midlatitudes. This is likely caused by the strong downwelling over McMurdo in late May. The Na flux magnitude is double the maximum at midlatitudes, which we believe is related to strong persistent gravity waves in the MLT at McMurdo. To achieve good agreement between the measured Na flux and theory, it was necessary to infer that a large fraction of gravity wave energy was propagating downward, especially between 80 and 95 km where the Na flux and wave dissipation were largest. These downward propagating waves are likely secondary waves generated in-situ by the dissipation of primary waves that originate from lower altitudes. The sensible heat flux transitions from downward below 90 km to upward from 97 to 106 km. The observations are explained with the fully compressible solutions for polarization relations of primary and secondary gravity waves with λ z > 10 km.
- Antarctica gravity waves
- constituent and heat transport
- fully compressible polarization relations
- secondary gravity wave generation
- vertical fluxes of sensible heat and meteoric Na