Decrease of total ozone at low latitudes in the southern hemisphere by a combination of linear and nonlinear processes

H. Teitelbaum, M. Moustaoui, P. F.J. Van Velthoven, H. Kelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Detailed analysis of the behaviour of the edge of the Antarctic polar vortex shows that it has to be considered as a region of finite latitudinal extent rather than as an infinitely narrow boundary. A new definition of the external boundary of the vortex edge allows the study of events where the edge becomes strongly dilated towards lower, even subtropical, latitudes. Such events have been observed by Argentinian subtropical ultra-violet measurement stations and can also be found in the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer total-ozone observations. The dilation of the vortex edge is due to a linear deformation of isentropic surfaces, but eventually leads to irreversible nonlinear mixing at low latitudes in the surf zone, where the horizontal gradients in Ertel potential vorticity are small. The dilation of the vortex edge in the studied events is demonstrated to be due to the action of planetary waves. Planetary waves not only affect the low-latitude ozone by causing vortex-edge dilation events, but may also by themselves lower the ozone column locally, as they adiabatically decrease the isentropic density in the ozone layer in some regions (and increase it in other regions).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2625-2644
Number of pages20
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number552
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Ozone depletion
  • Planetary waves
  • Polar vortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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