Abstract

An interesting occurrence of a Rossby wave breaking event observed during the VORCORE experiment is presented and explained. Twenty-seven balloons were launched inside the Antarctic polar vortex. Almost all of these balloons evolved in the stratosphere around 500K within the vortex, except the one launched on 28 October 2005. In this case, the balloon was caught within a tongue of high potential vorticity (PV), and was ejected from the polar vortex. The evolution of this event is studied for the period between 19 and 25 November 2005. It is found that at the beginning of this period, the polar vortex experienced distortions due to the presence of Rossby waves. Then, these waves break and a tongue of high PV develops. On 25 November, the tongue became separated from the vortex and the balloon was ejected into the surf zone. Lagrangian simulations demonstrate that the air masses surrounding the balloon after its ejection were originating from the vortex edge. The wave breaking and the development of the tongue are confined within a region where a planetary Quasi-Stationary Wave 1 (QSW1) induces wind speeds with weaker values. The QSW1 causes asymmetry in the wind speed and the horizontal PV gradient along the edge of the polar vortex, resulting in a localized jet. Rossby waves with smaller scales propagating on top of this jet amplify as they enter the jet exit region and then break. The role of the QSW1 on the formation of the weak flow conditions that caused the non-linear wave breaking observed near the vortex edge is confirmed by three-dimensional numerical simulations using forcing with and without the contribution of the QSW1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-687
Number of pages13
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2013

Fingerprint

polar vortex
wave breaking
standing wave
stratosphere
vortex
Rossby wave
potential vorticity
vortices
balloons
tongue
simulation
wind velocity
planetary waves
vorticity
surf zone
nonlinear wave
air mass
asymmetry
air masses
ejection

Keywords

  • Atmospheric composition and structure (Middle atmosphere - composition and chemistry)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geology

Cite this

Observation and simulation of wave breaking in the southern hemispheric stratosphere during VORCORE. / Moustaoui, Mohamed; Teitelbaum, H.; Mahalov, Alex.

In: Annales Geophysicae, Vol. 31, No. 4, 16.04.2013, p. 675-687.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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