Sudden stratospheric warmings

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Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are impressive fluid dynamical events in which large and rapid temperature increases in the winter polar stratosphere (∼10–50 km) are associated with a complete reversal of the climatological wintertime westerly winds. SSWs are caused by the breaking of planetary-scale waves that propagate upwards from the troposphere. During an SSW, the polar vortex breaks down, accompanied by rapid descent and warming of air in polar latitudes, mirrored by ascent and cooling above the warming. The rapid warming and descent of the polar air column affect tropospheric weather, shifting jet streams, storm tracks, and the Northern Annular Mode, making cold air outbreaks over North America and Eurasia more likely. SSWs affect the atmosphere above the stratosphere, producing widespread effects on atmospheric chemistry, temperatures, winds, neutral (nonionized) particles and electron densities, and electric fields. These effects span both hemispheres. Given their crucial role in the whole atmosphere, SSWs are also seen as a key process to analyze in climate change studies and subseasonal to seasonal prediction. This work reviews the current knowledge on the most important aspects of SSWs, from the historical background to dynamical processes, modeling, chemistry, and impact on other atmospheric layers.
©2020 American Geophysical Union. Artículo firmado por 13 autores. We thank Jian Rao for producing Table 4. BA acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the JeDiS (RTI-2018-096402-B-I00) project. MPB was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (grant number NE/M006123/1). TB and HG acknowledge support by the Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TRR 165 Waves to Weather ( funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Funding by the Swiss National Science Foundation to D.D. through project PP00P2_170523 is gratefully acknowledged. EPG acknowledges support from the US NSF through grant AGS-1852727. CIG acknowledges the support of a European Research Council starting grant under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 677756). NB was supported by the Met Office Hadley Centre Programme funded by BEIS and Defra. Part of the material is based upon work supported by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is a major facility sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement 1852977. NP acknowledges support from NASA grant 80NSSC18K1046.