The 4-day wave and transport of UARS tracers in the austral polar vortex

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3456-3470
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998


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