In late September 2002, an Antarctic major stratospheric warming occurred, which led to a strong distortion of the southern polar vortex and to a split of its mid- and upper-stratospheric parts. Such an event had never before been observed since the beginning of regular Antarctic stratospheric temperature observations in the 1950s. The split is studied by means of nonoperational level-2 CH4, N 20, CFC-11, and O3 data, retrieved at the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research Karlsruhe (IMK) from high-resolution atmospheric limb emission spectra from the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) on board the European research satellite, Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT). Retrieved horizontal and vertical distributions of CH4 and N 2O show good consistency with potential vorticity fields of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) analysis for the entire period under investigation, even for fine structures such as vortex filaments. Tracer correlation analysis suggests that mixing into the vortex had already occurred before the major warming and that vortex fragments were transported into the surrounding air masses on potential temperature levels above 400 K during the split. Correlation analysis of ozone with the source gases indicates slight ongoing ozone destruction in the lower-stratospheric vortex (below ∼500 K) after the beginning of the warming event.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science