Articles | Volume 9, issue 13
03 Jul 2009
 | 03 Jul 2009

Stratospheric warming in Southern Hemisphere high latitudes since 1979

Y. Hu and Q. Fu

Abstract. In the present study, we show evidence of significant stratospheric warming over Southern Hemisphere high latitudes and large portions of the Antarctic polar region in winter and spring seasons, with a maximum warming of 7–8°C in September and October, using satellite Microwave Sounding Unit observations for 1979–2006. It is found that this warming is associated with increasing wave activity from the troposphere into the stratosphere, suggesting that the warming is caused by enhanced wave-driven adiabatic heating. We show that the stratospheric warming in Southern Hemisphere high latitudes has close correlations with sea surface temperature (SST) increases, and that general circulation model simulations forced with observed time-varying SSTs reproduce similar warming trend patterns in the Antarctic stratosphere. The simulated stratospheric warming is closely related to increasing wave activity in the Southern Hemisphere. These findings suggest that the stratospheric warming is likely induced by SST warming. As SST warming continues as a consequence of greenhouse gas increases due to anthropogenic activity, the stratospheric warming would also continue, which has important implications to the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole.

Final-revised paper