Variability in Daily, Zonal Mean Lower-Stratospheric Temperatures

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  • 1 Atmospheric Science Program, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
  • | 2 Department of Mathematical Sciences, Moorhead State University, Moorhead. Minnesota
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Abstract

Satellite data from the microwave sounding unit (MSU) channel 4, when carefully merged, provide daily zonal anomalies of lower-stratosphere temperature with a level of precision between 0.01° and 0.08°C per 2.5° latitude band. Global averages of these daily zonal anomalies reveal the prominent warming events due to volcanic aerosol in 1982 (El Chichón) and 1991 (Mt. Pinatubo), which are on the order of 1°C.

The quasibiennial oscillation (QBO) may be extracted from these zonal data by applying a spatial filter between 15°N and 15°S latitude, which resembles the meridional curvature. Previously published relationships between the QBO and the north polar stratospheric temperatures during northern winter are examined but were not found to be reproduced in the MSU4 data.

Sudden stratospheric warmings in the north polar region are represented in the MSU4 data for latitudes poleward of 70°N. In the Southern Hemisphere, there appears to be a moderate relationship between total ozone concentration and MSU4 temperatures, though it has been less apparent in 1991 and 1992.

In terms of empirical modes of variability, the authors find a strong tendency in EOF 1(39.2% of the variance) for anomalies in the Northern Hemisphere polar regions to be counterbalanced by anomalies equatorward of 40°N and 40°S latitudes. In addition, most of the modes revealed significant power in the 15–20 day period band.

Abstract

Satellite data from the microwave sounding unit (MSU) channel 4, when carefully merged, provide daily zonal anomalies of lower-stratosphere temperature with a level of precision between 0.01° and 0.08°C per 2.5° latitude band. Global averages of these daily zonal anomalies reveal the prominent warming events due to volcanic aerosol in 1982 (El Chichón) and 1991 (Mt. Pinatubo), which are on the order of 1°C.

The quasibiennial oscillation (QBO) may be extracted from these zonal data by applying a spatial filter between 15°N and 15°S latitude, which resembles the meridional curvature. Previously published relationships between the QBO and the north polar stratospheric temperatures during northern winter are examined but were not found to be reproduced in the MSU4 data.

Sudden stratospheric warmings in the north polar region are represented in the MSU4 data for latitudes poleward of 70°N. In the Southern Hemisphere, there appears to be a moderate relationship between total ozone concentration and MSU4 temperatures, though it has been less apparent in 1991 and 1992.

In terms of empirical modes of variability, the authors find a strong tendency in EOF 1(39.2% of the variance) for anomalies in the Northern Hemisphere polar regions to be counterbalanced by anomalies equatorward of 40°N and 40°S latitudes. In addition, most of the modes revealed significant power in the 15–20 day period band.

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