Classification of hemispheric monthly mean stratospheric potential vorticity fields
Abstract. Monthly mean NCEP reanalysis potential vorticity fields at the 650 K isentropic level over the Northern and Southern Hemispheres between 1979 and 1997 were studied using multivariate analysis tools. Principal component analysis in the T-mode was applied to demonstrate the validity of such statistical techniques for the study of stratospheric dynamics and climatology. The method, complementarily applied to both the raw and anomaly fields, was useful in determining and classifying the characteristics of winter and summer PV fields on both hemispheres, in particular, the well-known differences in the behaviour and persistence of the polar vortices. It was possible to identify such features as sudden warming events in the Northern Hemisphere and final warming dates in both hemispheres. The stratospheric impact of other atmospheric processes, such as volcanic eruptions, also identified though the results, must be viewed at this stage as tentative. An interesting change in behaviour around 1990 was detected over both hemispheres.
Key words. Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (middle atmosphere dynamics; general circulation; climatology)