Diagnostics of a WN2-Type Major Sudden Stratospheric Warming Event in February 2018 Using a New Three-Dimensional Wave Activity Flux

Yayoi Harada, Kaoru Sato, Takenari Kinoshita, Ryosuke Yasui, Toshihiko Hirooka, Hiroaki Naoe

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Observational features of atmospheric fields during a zonal wave number 2-type major sudden stratospheric warming (MSSW) event in February 2018 (MSSW18) are analyzed using the Japanese 55-year Reanalysis, satellite measurements by a microwave limb sounder, and a new three-dimensional wave activity flux. MSSW18 is characterized by a clear polar vortex split, continuance of easterlies with evident double peaks, clear planetary wave propagation in the easterly region of the upper stratosphere and extraordinary upward propagation of wave number 2 planetary waves from the upper troposphere. The upward propagation peak is comparable to that during an MSSW event in January 2009 (MSSW09), although MSSW18 shows relatively modest warming, unclear disappearance of the stratopause and weak stratopause elevation compared to those during MSSW09. Further analyses reveal that wave packets propagates upward simultaneously in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Those observed in the Eastern Hemisphere converge strongly at the western edge of the Aleutian High, and most of them do not propagate further into the upper stratosphere. The wave packets observed in the Western Hemisphere propagate locally into the upper stratosphere over North America despite the fact that easterlies were predominant there in the mature stage of MSSW18. Furthermore, the results of our study reveal that the regions and levels of wave packet attenuation correspond well to the areas that smaller-scale waves have weak eastward phase tilt or are in the quasi-barotropic condition during MSSW18, whereas during MSSW09 the westward phase tilts of smaller-scale waves were clearly visible in the upper stratosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6120-6142
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 27 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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