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gravity wave


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A wave in which gravity—generally in the form of buoyancy—plays the predominant role in restoring equilibrium in response to some external disturbance. Such waves are generated in the troposphere above deep convective clouds, above mountains (where they create lee waves), and in jet streams. Gravity waves preferentially travel within stable layers. They appear to control circulation in the mesosphere and may do so in the stratosphere, but current knowledge of their exact role is limited. Note that this term must not be confused with gravitational wave, which is a disturbance of space-time, caused by the motion of gravitating bodies.

Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.


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