The atmosphere under the waves: forgotten meteorology from Nazi Germany

Worthington, R. M.

Année de publication
Mountain waves are oscillations of stable airflow over mountains which remain roughly fixed relative to the ground as the airflows through them. They are significant to numerical weather models, ozone depletion, and aviation safety. Textbook descriptions of mountain waves assume laminar flow down to the mountain surface, following the classic theory of Scorer. However, there can be a region of non-wavelike atmosphere under the mountain waves, such as convection, turbulent eddies and rotors in the boundary layer, implying a different paradigm to explain wave launching. This paper reviews how the existence of the atmosphere under the mountain waves was realised in Nazi Germany, where mountain waves were discovered using gliders in 1933 and studied in the run-up to World War 2.

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