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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 24, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: Current perspectives in modelling, monitoring, and predicting...

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 24, 265-278, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-24-265-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 09 Jun 2017

Research article | 09 Jun 2017

A simple kinematic model for the Lagrangian description of relevant nonlinear processes in the stratospheric polar vortex

Víctor José García-Garrido1, Jezabel Curbelo1,2, Carlos Roberto Mechoso3, Ana María Mancho1, and Stephen Wiggins4 Víctor José García-Garrido et al.
  • 1Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas, CSIC-UAM-UC3M-UCM, C/ Nicolás Cabrera 15, Campus de Cantoblanco UAM, 28049 Madrid, Spain
  • 2Departamento de Matemáticas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonóma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 4School of Mathematics, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Abstract. In this work, we study the Lagrangian footprint of the planetary waves present in the Southern Hemisphere stratosphere during the exceptional sudden Stratospheric warming event that took place during September 2002. Our focus is on constructing a simple kinematic model that retains the fundamental mechanisms responsible for complex fluid parcel evolution, during the polar vortex breakdown and its previous stages. The construction of the kinematic model is guided by the Fourier decomposition of the geopotential field. The study of Lagrangian transport phenomena in the ERA-Interim reanalysis data highlights hyperbolic trajectories, and these trajectories are Lagrangian objects that are the kinematic mechanism for the observed filamentation phenomena. Our analysis shows that the breaking and splitting of the polar vortex is justified in our model by the sudden growth of a planetary wave and the decay of the axisymmetric flow.

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Our work shows that a simple kinematic model is able to retain the fundamental mechanisms responsible for complex fluid parcel evolution in the stratosphere. Our analysis justifies in a controlled manner the formation of filaments eroding the polar vortex and shows that the breaking and splitting of the polar vortex is explained by the sudden growth of a planetary wave and the decay of the axisymmetric flow.
Our work shows that a simple kinematic model is able to retain the fundamental mechanisms...
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