Articles | Volume 28, issue 11
ANGEO Communicates
05 Nov 2010
ANGEO Communicates |  | 05 Nov 2010

Tropical connection to the polar stratospheric sudden warming through quasi 16-day planetary wave

C. Vineeth, T. K. Pant, K. K. Kumar, and S. G. Sumod

Abstract. The Planetary Waves (PWs) are believed to have significant role in generating the wintertime warming over the polar stratosphere, known as Stratospheric Sudden Warming (SSW). However, the origin, characteristics and evolution of these waves are still speculative. The possibility that the PWs over the polar stratosphere, which play an important role in the generation of SSW, could also have contribution from the tropics has been indicated through many numerical simulations in the past, but due to the paucity of global measurements it could not be established unequivocally. The earlier numerical studies also indicated the presence of a zero-wind line (more general the critical layer, where the zonal wind amplitude becomes zero) whose real counterparts were not observed in the atmosphere. The present study based on the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis of stratospheric wind and temperatures of recent years clearly shows that (i) the zero-wind line appears over the tropics ~60 days prior to the major SSWs and progresses towards the Pole and (ii) an enhanced PW activity of quasi periodicity 16-days, which is also seen almost simultaneously with the zero-wind line, shows a propagation from equator to the Pole. This result is significant as it presents for the first time the connection between the tropics during the SSW events and the pole, through the quasi 16-day wave.