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Stratospheric Polar Vortices

Waugh, Darryn W.; Polvani, Lorenzo M.

The intense cyclonic vortices that form over the winter pole are one of the most prominent features of the stratospheric circulation. The structure and dynamics of these “polar vortices” play a dominant role in the winter and spring stratospheric circulation and are key to determining distribution of trace gases, in particular ozone, and the couplings between the stratosphere and troposphere. In this chapter, we review the observed structure, dynamical theories, and modeling of these polar vortices.We consider both the zonal mean and three-dimensional potential vorticity perspective and examine the occurrence of extreme events and long-term trends.


Also Published In

The Stratosphere: Dynamics, Transport, and Chemistry
American Geophysical Union