Stratospheric Midwinter Warmings

  • Walter Dieminger
  • Gerd K. Hartmann
  • Reinhart Leitinger

Abstract

The cold cyclonic vortex occasionally breaks down in midwinter, with the result that the Arctic becomes warmer than middle latitudes and the westerlies are replaced by easterlies. This phenomenon is referred to as a “Major Midwinter Warming”. It was discovered by Scherhag (1952), and a review of its characteristics is given by Labitzke (1981). We illustrate the breakdown of the vortex by maps of the temperature and height fields on a day during the cold stage preceding the breakdown and on a day at the peak of the warming (Fig. 1a-d). The maps in Fig. 1 are representative of conditions in the stratosphere; in the mesosphere the sequence is reversed: while the warming progresses in the stratosphere the mesosphere cools and the stratopause descends, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 2 and by rocketsondes in Fig. 3. These figures show only the general features of a major midwinter warming since no two warmings are alike.

Keywords

Vortex Meso 

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References

  1. Labitzke K (1972) Temperature changes in the mesosphere and stratosphere connected with circulation changes in winter. J Atmos Sci 29: 756–766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Labitzke K (1981) Stratospheric-mesospheric midwinter disturbances: a summary of observed characteristics. J Geophys Res 86: 9665–9678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Labitzke K, Barnett JJ (1985) Planetary waves (b) In: Labitzke K, Barnett JJ, Edwards (eds) Atmospheric structure and its variation in the region 20–120 km; Draft of a new reference middle atmosphere. Handbook for MAP, vol 16, pp 138–143Google Scholar
  4. Scherhag R (1952) Die explosionsartigen Stratosphärenerwärmungen des Spätwinters 1952. Ber Dt Wetterdienstes (US Zone) 38: 51–63Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Dieminger
    • 1
  • Gerd K. Hartmann
    • 1
  • Reinhart Leitinger
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für AeronomieKatlenburg-LindauGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Meteorologie und GeophysikUniversität GrazGrazAustria

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