Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-68
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-68

  27 Jan 2021

27 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

2 and 3-dimensional structure of the descent of mesospheric trace constituents after the 2013 SSW elevated stratopause event

David E. Siskind1, V. Lynn Harvey2, Fabrizio Sassi1, John P. McCormack1,a, Cora E. Randall2,3, Mark E. Hervig4, and Scott M. Bailey5 David E. Siskind et al.
  • 1Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC, USA
  • 2Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder CO, USA
  • 4GATS Inc., Driggs, ID, USA
  • 5Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA, USA
  • anow at: Heliophysics Division, National Aerononautics and Space Administration, Washington DC, USA

Abstract. We use the Specified Dynamics version of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model Extended (SD-WACCMX) to model the descent of nitric oxide (NO) and other mesospheric tracers in the extended, elevated stratopause phase of the 2013 Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW). The dynamics are specified with a high altitude version of the Navy Global Environmental model (NAVGEM-HA). Consistent with our earlier published results, we find that using a high altitude meteorological analysis to nudge WACCMX allows for a realistic simulation of the descent of lower thermospheric nitric oxide down to the lower mesosphere, near 60 km. This is important because these simulations only included auroral electrons, and did not consider additional sources of NO from higher energy particles, for example, medium energy electron precipitation (> 30 keV). This suggests that the so-called energetic particle precipitation indirect effect (EPP-IE) can be accurately simulated, at least in years of low geomagnetic activity, such as 2013, without the need for additional NO production, provided the meteorology is accurately constrained. Despite the general success of WACCMX in simulating mesospheric NO, a detailed comparison of the WACCMX fields with the analyzed NAVGEM-HA H2O and satellite NO and H2O data from the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) and the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment-Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) reveals significant differences in the latitudinal and longitudinal distributions in the 45–55 km region. This stems from the tendency for WACCMX descent to maximize at sub-polar latitudes and while such sub-polar descent is seen in the NAVGEM-HA analysis, it is more transient than in the WACCMX simulation. These differences are linked to differences in the Transformed Eulerian Mean (TEM) circulation between NAVGEM-HA and WACCMX, most likely arising from small differences in how gravity wave forcing is represented. To attempt to compensate for the differing distributions of model vs. observed NO and to enable us to quantify the total amount of upper atmospheric NO delivered to the stratopause region, we use potential vorticity and equivalent latitude coordinates. Preliminary results suggest both model and observations are generally consistent with NO totals in the range of 0.1–0.25 gigamoles (GM).

David E. Siskind et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-68', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', David Siskind, 02 Jun 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-68', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', David Siskind, 02 Jun 2021

Interactive discussion

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-68', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Mar 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', David Siskind, 02 Jun 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-68', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', David Siskind, 02 Jun 2021

David E. Siskind et al.

David E. Siskind et al.

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Short summary
General circulation models have had a very difficult time simulating the descent of nitric oxide through the polar mesosphere to the stratosphere. Here, we present results suggesting that, with the proper specification of middle atmospheric meteorology, the simulation of this process can be greatly improved. Despite differences in the detailed geographic morphology of the model NO as compared with satellite data, we show that the overall abundance is likely in good agreement with the data.
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