Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 7243-7271, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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The sudden stratospheric warming of the Arctic winter 2009/2010: comparison to other recent warm winters
J. Kuttippurath1 and G. Nikulin2
1Université Pierre et Marie Curie, LATMOS/CNRS, UMR8190, Paris, France
2Rossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden

Abstract. The Arctic winter 2009/10 was moderately cold in December. A minor warming occurred around mid-December due to a wave 2 amplification split the lower stratospheric vortex into two lobes. The vortices merged again and formed a relatively large vortex in a few days. The temperatures began to rise by mid-January and triggered a major sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) by the reversal of westerlies in late (24–26) January, driven by a planetary wave 1 with a peak amplitude of about 100 m2 s−2 at 60° N/10 hPa. The momentum flux associated with this warming showed the largest value in the recent winters, about 450 m2 s−2 at 60° N/10 hPa. The associated vortex split confined to altitudes below 10 hPa and hence, the major warming (MW) was a vortex displacement event. Large amounts of Eliassen-Palm (EP) and wave 2 EP fluxes (3.9 ×105 kg s−2) are found shortly before the MW event at 100 hPa over 45–75° N, suggesting a tropospheric preconditioning of the MW event. We observe an increase in SSWs in the Arctic in recent years, as there were 6 MWs in 6 out of the 7 winters of 2003/04–2009/10, which confirms the conclusions of previous studies on the SSWs in winters prior to 2003/04. Each MW event was unique as far as its evolution and related polar processes were concerned. As compared to the MWs in the recent Arctic winters, the strongest MW was observed in 2008/09 and was initiated by a wave 2 event. A detailed diagnosis of ozone loss during the past fifteen years shows that the loss is inversely proportional to the intensity and timing of SSWs in each winter, where early MWs lead to minimal loss. The ozone loss shows a good correlation with the zonal mean amplitude of zonal winds in January over 60–90° N, suggesting a proxy for MWs in the Arctic winters.

Citation: Kuttippurath, J. and Nikulin, G.: The sudden stratospheric warming of the Arctic winter 2009/2010: comparison to other recent warm winters, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 7243-7271, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-7243-2012, 2012.
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