Articles | Volume 5, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 3159–3172, 2005
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 3159–3172, 2005

  24 Nov 2005

24 Nov 2005

The mean meridional circulation and midlatitude ozone buildup

G. Nikulin1 and A. Karpechko2 G. Nikulin and A. Karpechko
  • 1Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Atmospheric Research Programme, Box 812, 98 128 Kiruna, Sweden
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Arctic Research Centre, Täteläntie 62, 99 600 Sodankylä, Finland

Abstract. The wintertime ozone buildup over the Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes and its connection with the mean meridional circulation in the stratosphere are examined statistically on a monthly basis from October to March (1980–2002). The ozone buildup begins locally in October with positive total ozone tendencies over the North Pacific, which spread eastward and westward in November and finally cover all midlatitudes in December. The local onset of the buildup in October is not evident in zonal mean ozone tendency, which is close to zero. From November to March, zonal mean total ozone tendency (50°–60° N) shows a strong correlation (|r|=0.7) with several zonal mean parameters associated to the mean meridional circulation, namely: eddy heat flux, temperature tendency, the vertical residual velocity and the residual streamfunction. At the same time, on the latitude-altitude cross section, correlation patterns between ozone tendency and widely used eddy heat flux are not uniform during winter. The strongest correlations are located equatorward (almost throughout the stratosphere) or poleward (only in the lower stratosphere) of the edge of the polar vortex. Such distribution may depend on the existence of the midlatitude and polar waveguides which defined refraction of upward propagating waves from the troposphere either to the midlatitude stratosphere or to the polar stratosphere. As a consequence of the nonuniform correlation patterns, heat flux averaged over the common region 45°–75° N, 100 hPa is not always an optimum proxy for statistical models describing total ozone variability in midlatitudes. Other parameters approximating the strength of the mean meridional circulation have more uniform and stable correlation patterns with ozone tendency during winter. We show that the NH midlatitude ozone buildup has a stable statistical relationship with the mean meridional circulation in all months from October to March and half of the interannual variability in monthly ozone tendencies can be explained by applying different proxies of the mean meridional circulation.

Final-revised paper