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Journal Article

Local stratopause temperature variabilities and their embedding in the global context


Eixmann,  R.
External Organizations;


Matthias,  Vivien
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Höffner,  J.
External Organizations;

Baumgarten,  G.
External Organizations;

Gerding,  M.
External Organizations;

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Eixmann, R., Matthias, V., Höffner, J., Baumgarten, G., Gerding, M. (2020): Local stratopause temperature variabilities and their embedding in the global context. - Annales Geophysicae, 38, 2, 373-383.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_23322
The stratopause is by definition the transition between the stratosphere and mesosphere. During winter the circulation at mid-latitudes and high latitudes in the stratosphere is mainly driven by quasi-stationary planetary waves (PWs), while the circulation in the mesosphere is mainly driven by gravity waves (GWs). The question arises of whether PWs or GWs dominate the variability of the stratopause. The most famous and dramatic variability of the middle atmosphere is a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) generated by PWs interacting with the polar vortex. A similar phenomenon but smaller in magnitude and more regional is stratopause temperature enhancements (STEs) initially observed by local measurements and generated by breaking PWs. Thus it seems that PWs dominate the variability of the stratopause. In this study we want to quantify to which extent quasi-stationary PWs contribute to the stratopause variability. To do that we combine local lidar observations at Kühlungsborn (54∘ N, 11∘ E) and Andenes (69∘ N, 16∘ E) with global MERRA-2 reanalysis data bringing the local variability of the stratopause into the global context. Therefore we compare the temperature time series at Kühlungsborn and Andenes at 2 hPa, the altitude where STEs maximize, with characteristics (amplitude and phase) of PWs with wave numbers 1, 2 and 3. We found that for Kühlungsborn and Andenes 98 % of the local day-to-day variability of the stratopause can be explained by the variability of PWs with wave number 1, 2 and 3. Thus, the winter stratopause day-to-day variability is highly dominated by the variability of PWs.