Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 269–286 | Cite as

Solitary wave disturbances of the nocturnal boundary layer revealed by radar observations of migrating insects

  • V. A. Drake


Four solitary wave disturbances of the nocturnal boundary layer have been detected during radar observations of insect migration over central-western New South Wales. Three of the disturbances took the form of trains of long waves of elevation of large relative amplitude, and these were manifested as propagating variations of the highly stratified vertical distributions of the migrating insects; in the fourth disturbance, which appeared as an evenly spaced series of steadily advancing insect line concentrations, the waves almost certainly contained regions of closed circulation in which large numbers of insects had become entrained. Wave profiles have been reconstructed from the radar observations, and measurements of the length and speed of the wave components have been compared with theoretical values determined from upper air data.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benjamin, T. B.: 1967, ‘Internal Waves of Permanent Form in Fluids of Great Depth’, J. Fluid Mech. 29, 559–592.Google Scholar
  2. Christie, D. R., Muirhead, K. J., and Hales, A. L.: 1978, ‘On Solitary Waves in the Atmosphere’, J. Annos. Sci. 35, 805–825.Google Scholar
  3. Christie, D. R., Muirhead, K. J., and Hales, A. L.: 1979, ‘Intrusive Density Flows in the Lower Troposphere: A Source of Atmospheric Solitons’, J. Geophys. Res. 84, 4959–4970.Google Scholar
  4. Christie, D. R., Muirhead, K. J., and Clarke, R. H.: 1981, ‘Solitary Waves in the Lower Atmosphere’, Nature 293, 46–49.Google Scholar
  5. Clarke, R. H.: 1983, ‘Fair Weather Nocturnal Inland Wind Surges and Atmospheric Bores: Part II Internal Atmospheric Bores in Northern Australia’, Aust. Meteorol. Mag. 31, 147–160.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, R. H., Smith, R. K., and Reid, D. G.: 1981, ‘The Morning Glory of the Gulf of Carpentaria: An Atmospheric Undular Bore’, Mon. Weather Rev. 109, 1726–1750.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, R. E. and Acrivos, A.: 1967, ‘Solitary Internal Waves in Deep Water’, J. Fluid Mech. 29, 593–607.Google Scholar
  8. Drake, V. A.: 1982a, ‘Insects in the Sea-breeze Front at Canberra: A Radar Study’, Weather 37, 134–143.Google Scholar
  9. Drake, V. A.: 1982b, ‘The CSIRO Entomological Radar: A Remote-sensing Instrument for Insect Migration Research’, pp. 63–73 in L. A. Wisbey (ed.), Scientific Instruments in Primary Production, Australian Scientific Industry Association, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  10. Drake, V. A.: 1984, ‘The Vertical Distribution of Macro-insects Migrating in the Nocturnal Boundary Layer: A Radar Study’, Boundary-Layer Meteorol. 28, 353–374.Google Scholar
  11. Gossard, E., Chadwick, R., and Wolfe, D.: 1980, ‘FM-CW Radar Observations in Northern Colorado Compared with Rawinsonde-measured Profiles of Refractive Index’, NOAA Technical Memorandum ERL WPL-57, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado.Google Scholar
  12. Greenbank, D. O., Schaefer, G. W., and Rainey, R. C.: 1980, ‘Spruce Budworm (Lepidoptera: Tottricidae) Moth Flight and Dispersal: New Understanding from Canopy Observations, Radar and Aircraft’, Mem. Entomol. Soc. Can. no. 110, 49 pp.Google Scholar
  13. Grimshaw, R.: 1981, ‘Evolution Equations for Long, Nonlinear Internal Waves in Stratified Shear Flows’, Studies in Appl. Math. 65, 159–188.Google Scholar
  14. Larsen, E. B.: 1949, ‘Activity and Migration of Plusia gamma L. Studies in the Activity of Insects. III’, Kgl. Dansk. Videnskab. Selskab, Biol. Medd. 21 4, 1–32.Google Scholar
  15. Maslowe, S. A. and Redekopp, L. G.: 1980, ‘Long Nonlinear Waves in Stratified Shear Flows’, J. Fluid Mech. 101, 321–348.Google Scholar
  16. Mel'nichenko, A. N.: 1935, ‘Regularities of Mass Flying of the Adult Loxostege sticticalis L. and the Problem of the Prognosis of their flight Migrations’, (in Russian, with English summary), Bull. Plant Prot. (Leningrad) ser. 1 Ent. no. 17, 56 pp. (Rev. Appl. Entomol. (A) 24, 816.)Google Scholar
  17. Ono, H.: 1975, ‘Algebraic Solitary Waves in Stratified Fluids’, J. Phys. Soc. Jap. 39, 1082–1091.Google Scholar
  18. Pedgley, D. E., Reynolds, D. R., Riley, J. R., and Tucker, M. R.: 1982, ‘Flying Insects Reveal Small-scale Wind Systems’, Weather 37, 295–306.Google Scholar
  19. Riley, J. R.: 1975, ‘Collective Orientation in Night-flying Insects’, Nature 253, 113–114.Google Scholar
  20. Riley, J. R. and Reynolds, D. R.: 1979, ‘Radar-based Studies of the Migratory Flight of Grasshoppers in the Middle Niger Area of Mali’, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London) B204, 67–82.Google Scholar
  21. Riley, J. R., Reynolds, D. R., and Farmery, M. J.: 1981,‘Radar Observations of Spodoptera exempta, Kenya, March–April 1979’, Miscellaneous Report no. 54, Centre for Overseas Pest Research, London.Google Scholar
  22. Schaefer, G. W.: 1976, ‘Radar Observations of Insect Flight’, pp. 157–197 in R. C. Rainey (ed.), Insect Flight, Blackwell, Oxford (Symp. R. ent. Soc. 7).Google Scholar
  23. Tung, K.-K., Chan, T. F., and Kubota, T.: 1982, ‘Large Amplitude Internal Waves of Permanent Form’, Studies Appl. Math. 66, 1–44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. A. Drake
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of EntomologyCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations