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G. L. Manney and W. J. Randel

Abstract

Studies using, climatological fields in a three-dimensional stability model show unstable modes near the polar winter stratopause with periods neat 4 days. The calculated modes exhibit equatorward momentum and heat fluxes near the stratopause, similar to characteristics of observed 4-day wave events, demonstrating that both baroclinic and barotropic processes are important for this instability. The baroclinic and baratropic components are considered separately by selectively removing either horizontal or vertical shear from the background flow. Although both situations reveal instability, growth rates are very slow; realistic growth rates occur only for climatological flows including both horizontal and vertical shears. Similar unstable, fast-moving waves are found near the polar stratopause for several winter months in both hemispheres.

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G. L. Manney, J. D. Farrara, and C. R. Mechoso

Abstract

The evolution of the stratospheric flow during the major stratospheric sudden warming of February 1979 is studied using two primitive equation models of the stratosphere and mesosphere. The United Kingdom Meteorological Office Stratosphere-Mesosphere Model (SMM) uses log pressure as a vertical coordinate. A spectral, entropy coordinate version of the SMM (entropy coordinate model, or ECM) that has recently been developed is also used. Both models produce similar successful simulations through the peak of the warming, capturing the splitting of the vortex and the development of small-scale structures, such as narrow baroclinic zones. The ECM produces a more realistic recombination and recovery of the polar vortex in the midstratosphere after the warming, due mainly to better conservation properties for Rossby-Ertel potential vorticity in this model. Another advantage of the ECM is the automatic increase in vertical resolution near baroclinic zones. Comparison of SMM simulations with forecasts performed using the University of California, Los Angeles general circulation model confirms the previously noted sensitivity of stratospheric forecasts to tropospheric forecast and emphasizes the importance of adequate vertical resolution in modeling the stratosphere.

The ECM simulators provide a schematic description of the three-dimensional evolution of the polar vortex and the motion of air through it. During the warming, the two cyclonic vortices till westward and equatorward with height. Strong upward velocities develop in the lower stratosphere on the west (cold) side of a baroclinic zone as it forms over Europe and Asia. Strong downward velocities appear in the upper stratosphere on the east (warm) side, strengthening the temperature gradients. After the peak of the warming, vertical velocities decrease, downward velocities move into the lower stratosphere, and upward velocities move into the upper stratosphere. Transport calculations show that air with high ozone mixing ratios is advected toward the pole from low latitudes during the warming, and air with low ozone mixing ratios is transported to the midstratosphere from both higher and lower altitudes along the baroclinic zone in the polar regions. Trajectories of parcels moving around the vortex oscillate up and down as they move through regions of ascending and descending motions, with an overall increase in pressure in the polar regions. Tracer transport and trajectory calculations show enhanced diabatic descent in the region between cyclone and anticyclone during the warming, consistent with the temperature structure shown.

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G. L. Manney, J. D. Farrara, and C. R. Mechoso

Abstract

A detailed analysis is presented of the behavior of the zonal wavenumber 2 component of the flow (wave 2) for July through October in the Southern Hemisphere stratosphere. Wave 2 in the stratosphere is characterized by a broad meridional structure peaking between 55° and 65°S, and regular eastward propagation, with periods ranging from 5 to 40 days. Maximum geopotential height amplitudes for a year range from approximately 600 to 1000 m. Examination of vertical structure suggests that during episodes of largest growth, wave 2 propagates upward from the upper troposphere. Regular eastward propagation is, however, evident only within the stratosphere. There are also episodes of wave 2 growth that do not appear connected with the troposphere; in general, the wave 2 amplitude is not as large in these cases.

There are several years when wave 1 and wave 2 amplitudes are strongly anticorrelated in time during September and October. There are also years with strong positive correlation during August and September. While wave 1 is usually quasi-stationary, a number of instances where wave 1 moves eastward with wave 2 are observed, lasting from 4 to 10 days.

Calculations show that the zonal mean state of the Southern Hemisphere stratosphere frequently satisfies conditions for instability. It is suggested that instability of zonally symmetric and asymmetric states, and nonlinear interactions between wave 1 and wave 2 both play a role in determining the behavior of wave 2 in the Southern Hemisphere winter and spring stratosphere.

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Peter Hitchcock, Theodore G. Shepherd, and Gloria L. Manney

Abstract

A novel diagnostic tool is presented, based on polar-cap temperature anomalies, for visualizing daily variability of the Arctic stratospheric polar vortex over multiple decades. This visualization illustrates the ubiquity of extended-time-scale recoveries from stratospheric sudden warmings, termed here polar-night jet oscillation (PJO) events. These are characterized by an anomalously warm polar lower stratosphere that persists for several months. Following the initial warming, a cold anomaly forms in the middle stratosphere, as does an anomalously high stratopause, both of which descend while the lower-stratospheric anomaly persists. These events are characterized in four datasets: Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) temperature observations; the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and Modern Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) reanalyses; and an ensemble of three 150-yr simulations from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model. The statistics of PJO events in the model are found to agree very closely with those of the observations and reanalyses.

The time scale for the recovery of the polar vortex following sudden warmings correlates strongly with the depth to which the warming initially descends. PJO events occur following roughly half of all major sudden warmings and are associated with an extended period of suppressed wave-activity fluxes entering the polar vortex. They follow vortex splits more frequently than they do vortex displacements. They are also related to weak vortex events as identified by the northern annular mode; in particular, those weak vortex events followed by a PJO event show a stronger tropospheric response. The long time scales, predominantly radiative dynamics, and tropospheric influence of PJO events suggest that they represent an important source of conditional skill in seasonal forecasting.

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G. L. Manney, R. W. Zurek, L. Froidevaux, J. W. Waters, A. O'Neill, and R. Swinbank

Abstract

Trajectory calculations are used to examine ozone transport in the polar winter stratosphere during periods of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) observations. The value of these calculations for determining mass transport was demonstrated previously using UARS observations of long-lived tracers. In the middle stratosphere, the overall ozone behavior observed by the Microwave Limb Sounder in the polar vortex is reproduced by this purely dynamical model. Calculations show the evolution of ozone in the lower stratosphere during early winter to be dominated by dynamics in December 1992 in the Arctic. Calculations for June 1992 in the Antarctic show evidence of chemical ozone destruction and indicate that ≈ 50% of the chemical destruction may be masked by dynamical effects, mainly diabatic descent, which bring higher ozone into the lower-stratospheric vortex. Estimating differences between calculated and observed fields suggests that dynamical changes masked ≈20%–35% of chemical ozone loss during late February and early March 1993 in the Arctic. In the Antarctic late winter, in late August and early September 1992, below ≈520 K, the evolution of vortex-averaged ozone is entirely dominated by chemical effects; above this level, however, chemical ozone depiction can be partially or completely masked by dynamical effects. Our calculations for 1992 showed that chemical loss was nearly completely compensated by increases due to diabatic descent at 655 K.

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G. L. Manney, L. S. Elson, C. R. Mechoso, and J. D. Farrara

Abstract

Eastward-traveling waves 2 and 3 are frequently observed to grow in the Southern Hemisphere stratosphere during late winter and early spring. Observations show times when wave 2 growth appears to be confined to the stratosphere. This suggests that instability is one in situ mechanism that should be considered. The stability of stratospheric flows derived from data is examined during some of these times, using several linear models of quasigeostrophic instability.

Unstable modes of both wave 2 and wave 3 have periods and spatial structures similar to observations. Wave 2 and wave 3 momentum fluxes are similar in observations and model results and are consistent with the transfer of kinetic energy from the zonal-mean flow to the wave. When a barotropic model with a zonally symmetric basic flow is used, wave 3 is usually most unstable. Including a stationary wave 1 in the basic flow destabilizes both wave 2 and wave 3, but has little effect on their periods or spatial structures. When a zonally symmetric flow with realistic meridional and vertical structure is used, resulting unstable modes have shorter periods and slower growth rates than for barotropic flows. Wave 2 is usually more unstable than wave 3 when realistic vertical structure is included.

The similarity between observed fields and model results in a number of cases when wave 2 appears to grow within the stratosphere suggests that in situ instabilities play a role in the evolution of the eastward-traveling wave 2 characteristic of the Southern Hemisphere winter and early spring stratosphere.

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G. L. Manney, Y. J. Orsolini, H. C. Pumphrey, and A. E. Roche

Abstract

Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite tracer data and isentropic transport calculations using U.K. Meteorological Office winds initialized with these data show evidence of eastward-traveling waves in the polar upper stratosphere in late austral winter 1992. Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) H2O from prototype iterative retrievals shows a 4-day wave signal at levels from ∼1.5 to 0.1 hPa; a 4-day wave signal was not obvious in production retrievals of MLS H2O. At 1800 K, the 4-day wave signal in MLS H2O has a double-peaked structure in latitude, which is reproduced in isentropic transport calculations. The time evolution, amplitude, and phase of the 4-day wave in the transport calculations agree well with observations at high latitudes; the position and shape of the polar vortex and of H2O drawn up around the vortex are reproduced by the transport calculations. Spectral analyses of the Cryogen Limb Array Etalon Spectrometer (CLAES) CH4 are dominated by more slowly eastward-moving waves (∼6–10 days), but a weak 4-day wave signature is also present between ∼1.5 and 4 hPa. Transport calculations initialized with CH4 show similar eastward-traveling signals, good agreement with the phase of the observed signals, and overall agreement with the observed position of the vortex. The qualitative success of the transport calculations in reproducing the phase and overall time evolution of high-latitude eastward-traveling waves in the polar upper stratosphere indicates that the winds used for the transport calculations are generally reliable, and that the eastward-traveling waves identified in the MLS H2O and CLAES CH4 originate to a large extent from horizontal transport processes. Examination of the vertical structure of potential vorticity shows periods when at the highest levels studied (around 1800 K), the 4-day wave is responsible for the main motion of the vortex, whereas at lower levels (at and below ∼1400 K) the vortex motion is characterized by a slower eastward progression, and the 4-day wave signal contributes to motions that are confined inside the vortex.

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G. L. Manney, R. W. Zurek, A. O'Neill, and R. Swinbank

Abstract

Trajectory calculations using horizontal winds from the U.K. Meteorological Office data assimilation system and vertical velocities from a radiation calculation are used to simulate the three-dimensional motion of air through the stratospheric polar vortex for Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) winters since the launch of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. Throughout the winter, air from the upper stratosphere moves poleward and descends into the middle stratosphere. In the SH lower to middle stratosphere, strongest descent occurs near the edge of the polar vortex, with that edge defined by mixing characteristics. The NH shows a similar pattern in late winter, but in early winter strongest descent is near the center of the vortex, except when wave activity is particularly strong. Strong barriers to latitudinal mixing exist above about 420 K throughout the winter. Below this, the polar night jet is weak in early winter, so air descending below that level mixes between polar and middle latitudes. In late winter, parcels descend less and the polar night jet moves downward, so there is less latitudinal mixing. The degree of mixing in the lower stratosphere thus depends strongly on the position and evolution of the polar night jet and on the amount of descent experienced by the air parcels; these characteristics show considerable interannual variability in both hemispheres.

The computed trajectories provide a three-dimensional picture of air motion during the final warming. Large tongues of air are drawn off the vortex and stretched into increasingly long and narrow tongues extending into low latitudes. This vortex erosion process proceeds more rapidly in the NH than in the SH. In the lower stratosphere, the majority of air parcels remain confined within a lingering region of strong potential vorticity gradients into December in the SH and April in the NH, well after the vortex breaks up in the midstratosphere.

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Charles McLandress, John F. Scinocca, Theodore G. Shepherd, M. Catherine Reader, and Gloria L. Manney

Abstract

A version of the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM) that is nudged toward reanalysis data up to 1 hPa is used to examine the impacts of parameterized orographic and nonorographic gravity wave drag (OGWD and NGWD) on the zonal-mean circulation of the mesosphere during the extended northern winters of 2006 and 2009 when there were two large stratospheric sudden warmings. The simulations are compared to Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) observations of mesospheric temperature and carbon monoxide (CO) and derived zonal winds. The control simulation, which uses both OGWD and NGWD, is shown to be in good agreement with MLS. The impacts of OGWD and NGWD are assessed using simulations in which those sources of wave drag are removed. In the absence of OGWD the mesospheric zonal winds in the months preceding the warmings are too strong, causing increased mesospheric NGWD, which drives excessive downwelling, resulting in overly large lower-mesospheric values of CO prior to the warming. NGWD is found to be most important following the warmings when the underlying westerlies are too weak to allow much vertical propagation of the orographic gravity waves to the mesosphere. NGWD is primarily responsible for driving the circulation that results in the descent of CO from the thermosphere following the warmings. Zonal-mean mesospheric winds and temperatures in all simulations are shown to be strongly constrained by (i.e., slaved to) the stratosphere. Finally, it is demonstrated that the responses to OGWD and NGWD are nonadditive because of their dependence and influence on the background winds and temperatures.

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C. E. Randall, G. L. Manney, D. R. Allen, R. M. Bevilacqua, J. Hornstein, C. Trepte, W. Lahoz, J. Ajtic, and G. Bodeker

Abstract

Satellite-based solar occultation measurements during the 2002 austral winter have been used to reconstruct global, three-dimensional ozone distributions. The reconstruction method uses correlations between potential vorticity and ozone to derive “proxy” distributions from the geographically limited occultation observations. Ozone profiles from the Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE), the Polar Ozone and Aerosol Measurement III (POAM III), and the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II and III (SAGE II and III) are incorporated into the analysis. Because this is one of the first uses of SAGE III data in a scientific analysis, preliminary validation results are shown. The reconstruction method is described, with particular emphasis on uncertainties caused by noisy and/or multivalued correlations. The evolution of the solar occultation data and proxy ozone fields throughout the winter is described, and differences with respect to previous winters are characterized. The results support the idea that dynamical forcing early in the 2002 winter influenced the morphology of the stratosphere in a significant and unusual manner, possibly setting the stage for the unprecedented major stratospheric warming in late September. The proxy is compared with ozone from mechanistic, primitive equation model simulations of passive ozone tracer fields during the time of the warming. In regions where chemistry is negligible compared to transport, the model and proxy ozone fields agree well. The agreement between, and changes in, the large-scale ozone fields in the model and proxy indicate that transport processes, particularly enhanced poleward transport and mixing, are the primary cause of ozone changes through most of the stratosphere during this unprecedented event. The analysis culminates with the calculation of globally distributed column ozone during the major warming, showing quantitatively how transport of low-latitude air to the polar region in the middle stratosphere led to the diminished ozone hole in 2002.

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