What is the lesson from the unprecedented event over antarctica in 2002
- 197 Downloads
Varotsos (2002a,b), suggested that both the smaller-sized ozone hole over Antarctica and its splitting in two holes in September 2002 occurred due to an unprecedented major sudden stratospheric warming caused by very strong planetary waves propagated in the southern hemisphere. Subsequently, a NASA press release of December 6, 2002, also reported the prevalence of very strong planetary waves in Antarctica.
The aim of this Letter is to further discuss the morphology of the Antarctic ozone hole, to detect the causes that allowed the Antarctic stratosphere to exhibit this exceptional warming and to examine what it denotes about its mechanisms.
Concerning the morphology, among the principal findings is that the ozone hole split occurred not only in the stratosphere but extended in the lower altitudes (upper troposphere).
As to the causes of the major sudden stratospheric warming of 2002, a comparison with the previous warmings in Antarctica since 1964 is made. The smaller-sized Antarctic ozone hole of 2002 is approximately equal to that of 1988 when a strong sudden stratospheric warming occurred. If only the destruction of ozone by chlorofluorocarbons resulted in the delayed sudden stratospheric warmings in Antarctica, then the early sudden stratospheric warmings of 1988 and 2002 would not have occurred, since chlorofluorocarbon loading of the stratosphere has remained relatively stable in recent years. Furthermore, it appears that the El Nino characteristics in 1988 and 2002 are not similar.
KeywordsOzone hole planetary waves polar vortex
- Hsu C-PF (1980: Air parcel motions during a numerically simulated sudden stratospheric warming. JAS 37, 2768–2792Google Scholar
- Komhyr W et al. (1991): Possible influence of long-term sea surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific on global ozone. Canadian J Physics 69, 1093–1102Google Scholar
- Matsuno T (1971): A dynamical model of the stratospheric sudden warming. JAS 28, 1479–1494Google Scholar
- Mclntyre ME (1982): How well do we understand the dynamics of stratospheric warmings? J Meteorol Soc Jpn 60, 37–65Google Scholar
- NASA/NOAA, Ozone Hole Press Release, December 06, 2002 (http:// www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20021206ozonehole.html)Google Scholar
- Plumb RA (1981): Instability of the distorted polar night vortex: A theory of stratospheric warmings. JAS 38, 2514–2531Google Scholar
- Varotsos C (2002a): Atmospheric pollution and remote sensing: an implication for the southern hemisphere ozone hole split in 2002. COSPAR Symposium on Natural Hazards Using Space Technology, held in Houston, USA, October 9–19, 2002Google Scholar
- Varotsos C (2003): Major sudden warming and strange twist of the ozone hole over Antarctica in 2002. European Physics News (in press)Google Scholar