Polar Vortex Page

Go here and here for background information on Polar Vortices.

Polar Vortex Area

Southern Polar Vortex Area on a 450K Theta Surface

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Click Here to view the Polar Vortex Area on a 550K Theta Surface
Click Here to view the Polar Vortex Area on a 650K Theta Surface

Wind
Southern Polar Wind at:
10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
70 hPa/mb – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
250 hPa/mb Approximately 10,400 meters (34,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
500 hPa/mb – Approximately 5,600 meters (18,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
700hPa/mb – Approximately 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
1000hPa/mb – Approximates Mean Sea Level Wide and Focused Perspective

Northern Polar Wind at:
10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
70 hPa/mb – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
250 hPa/mb – Approximately 10,400 meters (34,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
500 hPa/mb – Approximately 5,600 meters (18,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
700 hPa/mb – Approximately 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) Wide and Focused Perspective
1000 hPa/mb – Approximates Mean Sea Level Wide and Focused Perspective

Temperature

Southern Hemisphere Temperature Area with Temperatures Colder than -78C on 450K Theta Surface (Temperature below which Polar Stratospheric Clouds May Form)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 30 hPa/mb – Approximately 23,700 meters (77,800 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 50 hPa/mb – Approximately 20,100 meters (66,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 70 hPa/mb – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 100 hPa/mb – Approximately 15,000 meters (49,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 10 hPa/mb – Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 30 hPa/mb – Approximately 23,700 meters (77,800 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 50 hPa/mb – Approximately 20,100 meters (66,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 70 hPa/mb – Approximately 18,000 meters (59,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Temperature Analysis at 100 hPa/mb – Approximately 15,000 (49,213 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Area Where Temperature is Below 195K or -78C (Temperature below which Polar Stratospheric Clouds May Form)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Area Where Temperature is Below 195K or -78C (Temperature below which Polar Stratospheric Clouds May Form)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Time vs. Pressure of Temperatures in Troposphere and Stratosphere (White Contour Outlines Indicate Area Below 195K or-78 C, where Polar Stratospheric Clouds may form.)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Ambient Temperature Over South Pole

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) – Click the pic to view at source

Zonal Mean Temperatures at 50-hPa/mb Height Temperature Anomalies – Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 20,100 meters (66,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Global – 10-hPa/mb Height Temperature Anomalies – Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 31,000 meters (101,700 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Global – 50-hPa/mb Height Temperature Anomalies – Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 20,100 meters (66,000 feet)

Global – 30-hPa/mb Height Temperature Anomalies – Atmospheric Temperature Anomalies At Approximately 23,700 meters (77,800 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Global Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – 1979 to Present

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Polar Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – 1979 to Present

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Polar Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – 1979 to Present

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) – Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) – Click the pic to view at source

Geopotential Height and Vorticity

Global – 200-hPa/mb Height Anomalies – Atmospheric Pressure Anomalies at Approximately 12,000 meters (40,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere 500-hPa/mb Geopotential Height and Vorticity – Approximately 5500 meters (18,000 feet)

Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) – Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES) – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere – 500-hPa/mb Height Anomalies – Atmospheric Pressure Anomalies at Approximately 5500 meters (18,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere – Vertical Cross Section of Geopotential Height Anomalies (Polar Vortex)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere 500-hPa/mb Geopotential Height and Vorticity – Approximately 5500 meters (18,000 feet)

Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) – Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES) – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere – 500-hPa /mb Height Anomalies – Atmospheric Pressure Anomalies At Approximately 5500 meters (18,000 feet)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere – Vertical Cross Section of Geopotential Height Anomalies (Polar Vortex)

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

“Ozone Hole” “The word hole isn’t literal; no place is empty of ozone. Scientists use the word hole as a metaphor for the area in which ozone concentrations drop below the historical threshold of 220 Dobson Units.”

Southern Hemisphere “Ozone Hole” Area

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern “Ozone Hole” Area, Ozone Minimum & Minimum Stratospheric Temperature

NOAA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – Click the pic to view at source

“Ozone Hole” Area

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – Click the pic to view at source

“Ozone Hole” Minimum

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – Click the pic to view at source

South Pole Ozonesondes – 12-20 km Column Ozone

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Total Ozone

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Total Ozone

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Total Ozone

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Global Total Ozone

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) – Click the pic to view at source

Global Total Ozone

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

South Pole Ozone Mixing Ratio

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) – Click the pic to view at source

Other Indicators

Eddy Heat Flux

Strong negative fluxes indicate poleward flux of heat via eddies. Multiple strong poleward episodes will result in a smaller polar vortex, Sudden Stratospheric Warmings and an earlier transition from winter to summer circulations. Relatively small flux amplitudes will result in a more stable polar vortex and will extend the winter circulation well into the Spring

10 day Averaged Eddy Heat Flux Towards The South Pole At 100mb

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

10 day Averaged Eddy Heat Flux Towards The North Pole At 100mb

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Atmospheric Transmission of Solar Radiation

UV Erythemal Daily Dosage

NOAA – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source

Wind Speed/Vectors:

Northern Hemisphere Heights and Wind Speeds – 1 Day

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) – Click the pic to view at source

View an animated version of the graphic above – Click Here

Source Guide

Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) – Institute of Global Environment and Society (IGES)
Home Page – http://wxmaps.org/pix.html
Height and Vorticity Analyses Page – http://wxmaps.org/pix/analyses.html?bandwidth=high
Hurricane Potential Page – http://wxmaps.org/pix/hurpot.html?bandwidth=high
Forecast Page – http://wxmaps.org/pix/forecasts.html?bandwidth=high

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)
Home Page – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/
Physical Sciences Division (PSD) Products Page – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/products/
Physical Sciences Division (PSD) Data Data Page – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/
Physical Sciences Division (PSD) Data Maps Page – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
Home Page – http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/about/about.html?bandwidth=high
Products Page – http://www.ncdc.noaa.govgov/oa/ncdc.html?bandwidth=high
Stratosphere Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/?bandwidth=high
FTP Page – http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/?bandwidth=high

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center
Home Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
Products Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/
Monitoring and Data Products Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/MD_index.shtml
Atmospheric & SST Indices Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/
Regional Climate Maps – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring/
Monitoring and Data Page -  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/monitoring_and_data/
FTP Page – ftp://ftp.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

Policlimate.com | Ryan Maue’s Weather Maps (NCEP GFS, NAM, WRF and ECMWF)
http://policlimate.com/weather/

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)
Home Page – http://ssmi.com/?bandwidth=high
MSU Page – http://ssmi.com/msu/msu_browse.html?bandwidth=high
MSU FTP Page – ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/?bandwidth=high
FTP Page – ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/?bandwidth=high

StormSurf.com
Home Page – http://www.stormsurf.com/
Model Products Page – http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu.html
Weather Model – Global Jet Stream Wind and 250 mb Pressure – http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=glob_250
Wave Mode – North Atlantic Surface Pressure and Wind – http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display.cgi?a=natla_slp

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9 thoughts on “Polar Vortex Page

  1. I get the first sentence describing the polar vortex. I like all the pretty graphs. But, I have to say I only have 60 or so college hours of Sciences, Astronomy, and Geology and there are just not enough words in plane English to decipher what this is all about.

    Also, I think there is a defect in the ozone discussion. Ozone has a typical life of 30 minutes before decaying into oxygen. Ozone is formed from sunlight interacting with Oxygen. Therefore, I think, Ozone does not exist in the stratosphere and above for longer than 30 minutes after sundown.

    Feel free to offer clarification or corrections.

  2. I’ve been reading up on the affects of UV light on the stratosphere and the affect of cosmic rays (charged protons and nuclei on the troposphere). Apparently with lessened solar activity i.e. slacker solar wind the magnetic flux of the earth increases quite a bit. This increase in magnetic field lines allows many more charged particles to enter the troposphere especially at the poles. Experiments have shown that charged protons and nuclei excite gas molecules or whatever molecules they clash with. This in turn ionises these particles, but also has the affect of ionising much larger particles of dust, ice particles, sulfer particles etc. Particles with like charges tend to stay together, so my thinking is, within the atmosphere this can consolidate particles floating around in the atmosphere. These densely packed charged particles then can act as strong nuclei for water droplets to form increasing cloud cover on some parts of the earth i.e the polar and cool temperate regions.
    Now this cloud cover has two affects. The first is that it acts as an insulator preventing heat from escaping into the stratosphere and into space. The second is that it acts as an insulator reflecting light away from land surfaces and dark oceans like the arctic ocean.
    Simultaneously, with a reduction in solar activity, there is also a reduction in UV light. UV doesn’t really have an affect on the troposhere like cosmic rays have, but UV interacts strongly with gas molecules in the stratophere, creating ozone and releasing heat as it does so. Now if there is a reduction in the amount of UV light, a reduction in ozone production follows and a cooling in the stratosphere…..especially a low latitudes nearer the equator where the effect of the sun is greatest. The stratosphere here will cool off more quickly than at the arctic and shrink in volume.
    Remember that the arctic receives little heat from the sun for much of the year, but there is a transfer and storage of heat from warmer waters from the tropics. Arctic waters are also very dark so they can absorb a lot of heat from relatively little sunshine. To summarise we have a warmer troposhere in the arctic with more cloud cover and a relatively cooler stratosphere further to the south.
    Now normally frigid arctic air is usually contained in the arctic and a fairly strong polar vortex exists. However if the difference is troposheric temperatures between the arctic and lower latitudes is reduced and inversly the relative temperatures in the stratosphere over the artic and lower latitudes is increased, this can shift the formation of high pressure areas north into the north atlantic and pacific. Pressures tend to reduce south of this i.e azores, meditaranean areas. Once an area of high pressure with a cold top forms i.e from Greenland down over the north atlactic, it tends to feed up warmer air into the artic, which is pushed up over the relatively cold air in the arctic troposphere. Ofcourse it cools, but it forms a temperature inversion near the poles, creating an area of higher pressure. On the eastern side of the high pressure area out over the atlantic, the now relatively warmer, but frigid arctic air can escape easily, without the impediment of a strong polar vortex.
    My thinking on all of this is that a combination of a warming arctic during increased solar activiy, followed by a cooling stratosphere because of lessened solar activity and increased cloud cover at high latitudes because of increased cosmic rays can weaken and expand the polar vortex. If the polar vortex is strong, it is contained more or less near the poles, but if it is weak it can become much larger, dragging the jet stream further south. Effectively this has the affect of cooling the climate of the earth. Simultaneously something similar would happen in the southern hemisphere.
    If the sun were to enter a long period without much activity, i think the entire earth would evetually cool. Cold air would often spill out of the poles because of the effects i’ve just explained and cool the land masses and especially the oceans further south. An obvious affect would be on the North Atlantic Drift. This current is largely driven by wind. Remove the wind for long periods of time and you lessen the affects of the current on the climate. Another affect may be to slow down the thermohaline curculation in atlactic. If the surface of the North Atlantic were to cool substansially and possibly become less salty because of melting fresh water ice caps and increased rainlfall in the summer months, this overturning of water may stop for some time, until the sun became much more active again.

    Hope you enjoy reading, and that it offers some insite into the physical mechanisms that ultimately dictate our weather patterns and climate.

  3. Following from my earlier post on the 19th of December 2011, have a look at the CERN cloud chamber experiment. To search for it look for Jasper Kirkby on YouTube. It seems as though cloud nuclei can be formed from secondary particles, where cosmic rays have bombarded our atmosphere. However we havn’t been able to measure this in real time in the atmosphere, largely because we don’t yet have the technologoy to do so. My earlier explanation of how our atmoshere is working could probably do with refining, because i’m sure there are flaws in my explanation. Feel free to comment.

  4. Regarding “A Sober Look At The Northern Polar Vortex”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/07/a-sober-look-at-the-northern-polar-vortex/

    rgbatduke, Carla, justthefactswuwt, TB : Awakening from a stupor, I am too late to catch responses from the blog “A Sober Look At The Northern Polar Vortex”.

    Do you FEEL that there is a gap between rigorous “standard modeling” of the polar vortices and their actual behaviour, apart from issues related to “chaotic behaviour”? I am assuming that comments on anomalies are refering to work that already accounts for Coriolis effects (which is standard). The geomagnetics and LOD comments are interesting, as perhaps somewhat related to my interests, but at a later time. “Coriolis accleration” itself happends to be an interesting historical example whereby a term was missing from classical analysis of mechanics (a hundred years or more ago – “… 1835 paper by French scientist Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis …” according to wikipedia), and I remember making the same mistake in courses I took several decades ago. I am interested in finding what MAY be manifestations of an analogous “missing chiral term” in electrodynamics. Bode’s law for planetary orbits, red shift quantization in astronomy, and some aspects of the behaviour of elementary particles (this latter one I am not at all comfortable that I am interpreting statements correctly), are some of the examples that have been suggested as manifesting this “chiral term”. After several years, I still have not found time to go step-by-step through the underlying electrodynamics, so I don’t want to lead people astray, and in the end there is a strong likelihood the ideas are flawed (albeit they “look” extremely well-founded, even if vehemently criticized, to me). But it strikes me that if there is something very anomalous about polar vortices, they may warrant (considerable!) effort to check.

    I have perhaps 2 to 4 hours over the next 2 days to seek clarification of the “Polar Vortex” discussions. After that (and maybe before) I will be dragged off on other priorities. But perhaps there is something to pursue here over the long term, if and after I do some related “home hobby-project-work” that has long been sidelined. So please don’t spend to much time on responding – I was want a “gut feel” idea if you think something fundamental is missing from standard modeling (more importantly for me – standard physics implementations).

  5. Bill Howell says: February 14, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Do you FEEL that there is a gap between rigorous “standard modeling” of the polar vortices and their actual behaviour, apart from issues related to “chaotic behaviour”?

    I don’t “FEEL that there is a gap”, we know that there’s a gap, only question is how big. As was cited in the article you linked to:

    “Many atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) and chemistry–climate models (CCMs) are not able to reproduce the observed polar stratospheric winds in simulations of the late 20th century. Specifically, the polar vortices break down too late and peak wind speeds are higher than in the ERA-40 reanalysis. Insufficient planetary wave driving during the October–November period delays the breakup of the southern hemisphere (SH) polar vortex in versions 1 (V1) and 2 (V2) of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) chemistry–climate model, and is likely the cause of the delayed breakup in other CCMs with similarly weak October-November wave driving.”

    “In the V1 model, the delayed breakup of the Antarctic vortex biases temperature, circulation and trace gas concentrations in the polar stratosphere in spring. The V2 model behaves similarly (despite major model upgrades from V1), though the magnitudes of the anomalous effects on springtime dynamics are smaller.”

    “Clearly, if CCMs cannot duplicate the observed response of the polar stratosphere to late 20th century climate forcings, their ability to simulate the polar vortices in future may be poor.”
    Assessment and Consequences of the Delayed Breakup of the Antarctic Polar Vortex in Chemistry-Climate Models Hurwitz et al., 2009

    “It is unclear how much confidence can be put into the model projections of the vortices given that the models typically only have moderate resolution and that the climatological structure of the vortices in the models depends on the tuning of gravity wave parameterizations.

    Given the above outstanding issues, there is need for continued research in the dynamics of the vortices and their representation in global models.”
    Stratospheric Polar Vortices, Waugh et al. 2010

    I’d recommend also reading:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/18/introducing-the-new-wuwt-northern-polar-vortex-page-with-explanation-and-observations/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/01/a-displaced-polar-vortex-and-its-causes/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/08/when-does-a-displaced-polar-vortex-becomes-a-split-vortex/#comment-1562964

    the comments in the second one go into particular depth on causes of vortex variability.

    I have perhaps 2 to 4 hours over the next 2 days to seek clarification of the “Polar Vortex” discussions. After that (and maybe before) I will be dragged off on other priorities. But perhaps there is something to pursue here over the long term, if and after I do some related “home hobby-project-work” that has long been sidelined. So please don’t spend to much time on responding – I was want a “gut feel” idea if you think something fundamental is missing from standard modeling (more importantly for me – standard physics implementations).

    You are unlikely to make much headway in 2 to 4 hours, but, over the long term, the more minds we have working on the gaps, the sooner we are likely to fill in the missing pieces.

  6. YIKES! That was fast – you’ve set a standard I can’t meet! I really appreciate the response, and I can go through the three additional links you have provided over the next day or two (but real work will have to wait for 2-3 months from now at the least). I can also bring this up in exchanges with contacts over the next few months. Thanks, justthefactswuwt.

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