Very low ozone episodes due to polar vortex displacement
James, P. M.
Waugh, D. W.
- Publisher: Tellus B
The large-scale ozone distribution over the northern hemisphere undergoes strong fluctuationseach winter on timescales of up to a few weeks. This is closely linked to changes in the stratosphericpolar vortex, whose shape, intensity and location vary with time. Elliptical diagnosticparameters provide an empirical description of the daily character of the polar vortex. Theseparameters are used as an objective measure to define two characteristic wintertime vortexdisplacements, towards northern Europe and Canada, respectively. The large-scale structuresin both the stratosphere and troposphere and the 3D ozone structures are determined for bothvortex displacement scenarios. A linear ozone transport model shows that the contribution ofhorizontal ozone advection dominates locally in the middle stratosphere. Nevertheless, thelargest contribution is due to vertical advection around the ozone layer maximum. The findingsare in agreement with an EOF analysis which reveals significant general modes of ozone variabilitylinked to polar vortex displacement and to phase-shifted large-scale tropospheric waves.When baroclinic waves travel through the regions of vortex-related ozone reduction, the combinedeffect is to produce transient synoptic-scale areas of exceptionally low ozone; namelydynamically induced strong ozone mini-holes.DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0889.2000.00128.x