A minor sudden stratospheric warming with a major impact: Transport and polar processing in the 2014/2015 Arctic winter

Gloria L. Manney*, Zachary D. Lawrence, Michelle L. Santee, William G. Read, Nathaniel J. Livesey, Alyn Lambert, Lucien Froidevaux, Hugh C. Pumphrey, Michael J. Schwartz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Stratospheric transport and polar processing during the 2014/2015 Arctic winter were strongly influenced by a minor sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) in early January. Disturbances to temperatures and trace gases in the middle and upper stratosphere were similar in character to those associated with major SSWs: The stratopause dropped, and vertical temperature gradients weakened, followed by renewed descent of mesospheric air. The lower stratospheric polar vortex was barely disrupted and remained unusually strong throughout the winter. The SSW did, however, cause lower stratospheric temperatures to rise well above chlorine activation thresholds; trace gas abundances from the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) were consequently exceptional. The degree of chlorine activation in January was the smallest, and lower stratospheric ozone values in February were the highest, in the 11 year MLS record. The major role played by a minor SSW highlights the Arctic stratosphere's sensitivity to a spectrum of dynamical variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7808-7816
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume42
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2015

Keywords

  • Arctic ozone
  • satellite data
  • stratospheric sudden warming

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