University of Oulu

Matthias, V., Stober, G., Kozlovsky, A., Lester, M., Belova, E., & Kero, J. (2021). Vertical structure of the Arctic spring transition in the middle atmosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126, e2020JD034353.

Vertical structure of the Arctic spring transition in the middle atmosphere

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Author: Matthias, Vivien1; Stober, Gunter2; Kozlovsky, Alexander3;
Organizations: 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut fr̈ Solar-Terrestrische Physik, Neustrelitz, Germany
2Institute of Applied Physics & Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, Microwave Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
3Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory of the University of Oulu, Sodankylä, Finland
4University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
5Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Geophysical Union, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-07-07


In the middle atmosphere, spring transition is the time period where the zonal circulation reverses from winter westerly to summer easterly which has a strong impact on the vertical wave propagation influencing the ionospheric variability. The spring transition can be rapid in form of a final sudden stratospheric warming (SSW, mainly dynamically driven) or slow (mainly radiatively driven) but also intermediate stages can occur. In most studies spring transitions are classified either by their timing of occurrence or by their vertical structure. However, all these studies focus exclusively on the stratosphere and it is not clear if and how pre-winter conditions have an impact on when and how spring transitions take place. Here we classify the spring transitions regarding their vertical-temporal development beginning in January and spanning the whole middle atmosphere in the core region of the polar vortex. This leads to five classes where the timing of the SSW in the preceding winter and a downward propagating Northern Annular Mode plays a crucial role. First, we use Microwave Limb Sounder satellite data to describe the five classes for recent single years, and then we use Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications Version 2 reanalysis data for a composite analysis. The results show distinctive differences between the five classes in the months before the spring transition especially in the mesosphere. We hypothesize that this will help to improve the prediction of the spring transition. Additionally, meteor radar winds are used to link spring transition effects in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere with the stratospheric final warming.

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Series: Journal of geophysical research. Atmospheres
ISSN: 2169-897X
ISSN-E: 2169-8996
ISSN-L: 2169-897X
Volume: 126
Issue: 10
Article number: e2020JD034353
DOI: 10.1029/2020JD034353
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 115 Astronomy and space science
Funding: Research funding: European Community Horizon 2020. Grant Number: 653980. Open access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Copyright information: © 2021. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.