The Interaction of Radiative and Dynamical Processes during a Simulated Sudden Stratospheric Warming

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  • 1 Atmospheric Sciences Division, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 2 Science and Technology Corporation, Hampton, Virginia
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Abstract

An analysis of a spontaneous sudden stratospheric warming that occurred during a 2-year integration of the Langley Research Center Atmospheric Simulation Model is presented. The simulated warming resembles observed “wave 1&rdquo warmings in the Northern Hemisphere stratosphere and provides an opportunity to investigate the radiative and dynamical processes occurring during the warming event. Isentropic analysis of potential vorticity sources and sinks indicates that dynamically induced departures from radiative equilibrium play an important role in the warming event. Enhanced radiative cooling associated with a series of upper stratospheric warm pools leads to radiative dampening within the polar vortex. Within the “surf zone” large-scale radiative cooling leads to diabatic advection of high potential vorticity air from aloft. Lagrangian area diagnostics of the simulated warming agree well with LIMS analyses. Dynamical mixing is shown to account for the majority of the decrease in the size of the polar vortex during the simulated warming. An investigation of the nonlinear deformation of material lines that are initially coincident with diagnosed potential vorticity isopleths is conducted to clarify the relationship between the Lagrangian area diagnostics and potential vorticity advection during wave breaking events.

Abstract

An analysis of a spontaneous sudden stratospheric warming that occurred during a 2-year integration of the Langley Research Center Atmospheric Simulation Model is presented. The simulated warming resembles observed “wave 1&rdquo warmings in the Northern Hemisphere stratosphere and provides an opportunity to investigate the radiative and dynamical processes occurring during the warming event. Isentropic analysis of potential vorticity sources and sinks indicates that dynamically induced departures from radiative equilibrium play an important role in the warming event. Enhanced radiative cooling associated with a series of upper stratospheric warm pools leads to radiative dampening within the polar vortex. Within the “surf zone” large-scale radiative cooling leads to diabatic advection of high potential vorticity air from aloft. Lagrangian area diagnostics of the simulated warming agree well with LIMS analyses. Dynamical mixing is shown to account for the majority of the decrease in the size of the polar vortex during the simulated warming. An investigation of the nonlinear deformation of material lines that are initially coincident with diagnosed potential vorticity isopleths is conducted to clarify the relationship between the Lagrangian area diagnostics and potential vorticity advection during wave breaking events.

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