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Douglas R. Allen and Noboru Nakamura

Abstract

Area equivalent latitude based on potential vorticity (PV) is a widely used diagnostic for isentropic transport in the stratosphere and upper troposphere. Here, an alternate method for calculating equivalent latitude is explored, namely, a numerical synthesis of a PV-like tracer from a long-term integration of the advection–diffusion equation on isentropic surfaces. It is found that the tracer equivalent latitude (TrEL) behaves much like the traditional PV equivalent latitude (PVEL) despite the simplified governing physics; this is evidenced by examining the kinematics of the Arctic lower stratospheric vortex. Yet in some cases TrEL performs markedly better as a coordinate for long-lived trace species such as ozone. These instances include analysis of lower stratospheric ozone during the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment (SOLVE) campaign and three-dimensional reconstruction of total column ozone during November–December 1999 from fitted ozone-equivalent latitude relationship. It is argued that the improvement is due to the tracer being free from the diagnostic errors and certain diabatic processes that affect PV. The sensitivity of TrEL to spatial and temporal resolution, advection scheme, and driving winds is also examined.

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Douglas R. Allen, Michael D. Fromm, George P. Kablick III, and Gerald E. Nedoluha

Abstract

The Australian bushfires of 2019/20 produced an unusually large number of pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) that injected huge amounts of smoke into the lower stratosphere. The pyroCbs from 29 December 2019 to 4 January 2020 were particularly intense, producing hemispheric-wide aerosol that persisted for months. One plume from this so-called Australian New Year (ANY) event evolved into a stratospheric aerosol mass ~1000 km across and several kilometers thick. This plume initially moved eastward toward South America in January, then reversed course and moved westward passing south of Australia in February and eventually reached South Africa in early March. The peculiar motion was related to the steady rise in plume potential temperature of ~8 K day−1 in January and ~6 K day−1 in February, due to local heating by smoke absorption of solar radiation. This heating resulted in a vertical temperature anomaly dipole, a positive potential vorticity (PV) anomaly, and anticyclonic circulation. We call this dynamical component of the smoke plume “smoke with induced rotation and lofting” (SWIRL). This study uses Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) analyses to detail the SWIRL structure over 2 months. The main diagnostic tool is an anticyclone edge calculation based on the scalar Q diagnostic. This provides the framework for calculating the time evolution of various SWIRL properties: PV anomaly, streamfunction, horizontal size, vertical thickness, flow speed, and tilt. In addition, we examine the temperature anomaly dipole, the SWIRL interaction with the large-scale wind shear, and the ozone anomaly associated with lofting of air from the lower to the middle stratosphere.

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Yvan J. Orsolini, Cora E. Randall, Gloria L. Manney, and Douglas R. Allen

Abstract

The 2002 Southern Hemisphere final warming occurred early, following an unusually active winter and the first recorded major warming in the Antarctic. The breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex in October and November 2002 is examined using new satellite observations from the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) instrument aboard the European Space Agency (ESA) Environment Satellite (ENVISAT) and meteorological analyses, both high-resolution fields from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the coarser Met Office analyses. The results derived from MIPAS observations are compared to measurements and inferences from well-validated solar occultation satellite instruments [Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE), Polar Ozone and Aerosol Measurement III (POAM III), and Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiments II and III (SAGE II and III)] and to finescale tracer fields reconstructed by transporting trace gases based on MIPAS or climatological data using a reverse-trajectory method. These comparisons confirm the features in the MIPAS data and the interpretation of the evolution of the flow during the vortex decay revealed by those features. Mapped ozone and water vapor from MIPAS and the analyzed isentropic potential vorticity vividly display the vortex breakdown, which occurred earlier than usual. A large tongue of vortex air was pulled out westward and coiled up in an anticyclone, while the vortex core remnant shrank and drifted eastward and equatorward over the South Atlantic. By roughly mid-November, the vortex remnant at 10 mb had shrunk below scales resolved by the satellite observations, while a vortex core remained in the lower stratosphere.

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Douglas R. Allen, Karl W. Hoppel, Gerald E. Nedoluha, Stephen D. Eckermann, and Cory A. Barton

Abstract

Gravity wave (GW) momentum and energy deposition are large components of the momentum and heat budgets of the stratosphere and mesosphere, affecting predictability across scales. Since weather and climate models cannot resolve the entire GW spectrum, GW parameterizations are required. Tuning these parameterizations is time-consuming and must be repeated whenever model configurations are changed. We introduce a self-tuning approach, called GW parameter retrieval (GWPR), applied when the model is coupled to a data assimilation (DA) system. A key component of GWPR is a linearized model of the sensitivity of model wind and temperature to the GW parameters, which is calculated using an ensemble of nonlinear forecasts with perturbed parameters. GWPR calculates optimal parameters using an adaptive grid search that reduces DA analysis increments via a cost-function minimization. We test GWPR within the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) using three latitude-dependent GW parameters: peak momentum flux, phase-speed width of the Gaussian source spectrum, and phase-speed weighting relative to the source-level wind. Compared to a baseline experiment with fixed parameters, GWPR reduces analysis increments and improves 5-day mesospheric forecasts. Relative to the baseline, retrieved parameters reveal enhanced source-level fluxes and westward shift of the wave spectrum in the winter extratropics, which we relate to seasonal variations in frontogenesis. The GWPR reduces stratospheric increments near 60°S during austral winter, compensating for excessive baseline nonorographic GW drag. Tropical sensitivity is weaker due to significant absorption of GW in the stratosphere, resulting in less confidence in tropical GWPR values.

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Gloria L. Manney, Joseph L. Sabutis, Douglas R. Allen, William A. Lahoz, Adam A. Scaife, Cora E. Randall, Steven Pawson, Barbara Naujokat, and Richard Swinbank

Abstract

A mechanistic model simulation initialized on 14 September 2002, forced by 100-hPa geopotential heights from Met Office analyses, reproduced the dynamical features of the 2002 Antarctic major warming. The vortex split on ∼25 September; recovery after the warming, westward and equatorward tilting vortices, and strong baroclinic zones in temperature associated with a dipole pattern of upward and downward vertical velocities were all captured in the simulation. Model results and analyses show a pattern of strong upward wave propagation throughout the warming, with zonal wind deceleration throughout the stratosphere at high latitudes before the vortex split, continuing in the middle and upper stratosphere and spreading to lower latitudes after the split. Three-dimensional Eliassen–Palm fluxes show the largest upward and poleward wave propagation in the 0°–90°E sector prior to the vortex split (coincident with the location of strongest cyclogenesis at the model’s lower boundary), with an additional region of strong upward propagation developing near 180°–270°E. These characteristics are similar to those of Arctic wave-2 major warmings, except that during this warming, the vortex did not split below ∼600 K. The effects of poleward transport and mixing dominate modeled trace gas evolution through most of the mid- to high-latitude stratosphere, with a core region in the lower-stratospheric vortex where enhanced descent dominates and the vortex remains isolated. Strongly tilted vortices led to low-latitude air overlying vortex air, resulting in highly unusual trace gas profiles. Simulations driven with several meteorological datasets reproduced the major warming, but in others, stronger latitudinal gradients at high latitudes at the model boundary resulted in simulations without a complete vortex split in the midstratosphere. Numerous tests indicate very high sensitivity to the boundary fields, especially the wave-2 amplitude. Major warmings occurred for initial fields with stronger winds and larger vortices, but not smaller vortices, consistent with the initiation of wind deceleration by upward-propagating waves near the poleward edge of the region where wave 2 can propagate above the jet core. Thus, given the observed 100-hPa boundary forcing, stratospheric preconditioning is not needed to reproduce a major warming similar to that observed. The anomalously strong forcing in the lower stratosphere can be viewed as the primary direct cause of the major warming.

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