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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 7
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 3397–3404, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 3397–3404, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  12 Apr 2010

12 Apr 2010

Study on the impact of sudden stratosphere warming in the upper mesosphere-lower thermosphere regions using satellite and HF radar measurements

N. Mbatha1,2, V. Sivakumar3,4,5, S. B. Malinga2, H. Bencherif5, and S. R. Pillay1 N. Mbatha et al.
  • 1School of Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4000, South Africa
  • 2Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, P.O. Box 32, Hermanus 7200, South Africa
  • 3National Laser Centre, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • 4Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and~Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Lynwood Road, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
  • 5Laboratoire de l'Atmosphère et des Cyclones, UMR 8105 CNRS, Université de La Réunion, 97715 Saint-Denis, Cedex 9, La Réunion, France

Abstract. The occurrence of a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) excites disturbances in the mesosphere-lower thermospheric (MLT) wind and temperature. Here, we have examined the high frequency (HF) radar wind data from the South African National Antarctic Expedition, SANAE (72° S, 3° W), a radar which is part of the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN). Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) on board the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere-Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite temperature data and National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) temperature and wind data are used to investigate the dynamical effects of the unprecedented September 2002 SSW in the Antarctica stratosphere and MLT. The mean zonal wind (from SANAE HF radar) at the MLT shows reversal approximately 7 days before the reversal at 10 hPa (from NCEP). This indicates that there was a downwards propagation of circulation disturbance. Westerly zonal winds dominate the winter MLT, but during the 2002 winter there are many periods of westward winds observed compared to other years. The normalised power spectrums of both meridional and zonal winds show presence of planetary waves (of ~14-day period) before the occurrence of the SSW. The SABER vertical temperature profiles indicated the cooling of the MLT region before the SSW event.

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