The Effect of Solar Corpuscular Radiation on the 1963 Final Spring Warming in the Antarctic

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  • 1 Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
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Abstract

The 1963 final spring warming in the antarctic stratosphere is discussed, with particular reference to the energy flux of electrons precipitated during the event. Temperature changes occurring throughout the atmosphere at this time are estimated. The change in thermospheric temperature (˜110 km) due to particle influx is shown to be approximately 15 K, when allowance is made for losses due to molecular conductivity, eddy transport and radiation. It is shown that this heating could lead to a greater deposition of gravity wave energy near 110 km in the auroral zone, and a further increase in local temperature. The resulting changes in the mid-latitude zonal wind above 80 km would lead to a modification in the large-scale wave activity at these heights. Although these mechanisms do not appear to constitute an initial triggering mechanism for the planetary wave which was associated with the stratospheric warming of 1963, they could lead to a correlation between the particle influx, and the mid-latitude stratospheric and thermospheric parameters.

Considerations of the photochemistry of ozone, as it is presently understood, suggest that the auroral emissions were too weak to introduce a mesospheric-stratospheric temperature perturbation capable of destabilizing the dynamic structure of that region. A more detailed knowledge of the photochemistry of ozone at heights up to 110 km, during particle influx events, should lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of this region. Finally, it is noted that there is insufficient atmospheric data to confirm the hypothesis that auroras or particle influx events are responsible for the onset of stratospheric warmings.

Abstract

The 1963 final spring warming in the antarctic stratosphere is discussed, with particular reference to the energy flux of electrons precipitated during the event. Temperature changes occurring throughout the atmosphere at this time are estimated. The change in thermospheric temperature (˜110 km) due to particle influx is shown to be approximately 15 K, when allowance is made for losses due to molecular conductivity, eddy transport and radiation. It is shown that this heating could lead to a greater deposition of gravity wave energy near 110 km in the auroral zone, and a further increase in local temperature. The resulting changes in the mid-latitude zonal wind above 80 km would lead to a modification in the large-scale wave activity at these heights. Although these mechanisms do not appear to constitute an initial triggering mechanism for the planetary wave which was associated with the stratospheric warming of 1963, they could lead to a correlation between the particle influx, and the mid-latitude stratospheric and thermospheric parameters.

Considerations of the photochemistry of ozone, as it is presently understood, suggest that the auroral emissions were too weak to introduce a mesospheric-stratospheric temperature perturbation capable of destabilizing the dynamic structure of that region. A more detailed knowledge of the photochemistry of ozone at heights up to 110 km, during particle influx events, should lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of this region. Finally, it is noted that there is insufficient atmospheric data to confirm the hypothesis that auroras or particle influx events are responsible for the onset of stratospheric warmings.

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