Journal article

Observations of filamentary structures near the vortex edge in the Arctic winter lower stratosphere

Kalicinsky C, Grooß J, Günther G, Ungermann J, Blank J, Höfer S, Hoffmann L, Knieling P, Olschewski F, Spang R, Stroh F, Riese M ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 13, issue 21 (2013) pp. 10859-10871

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The CRISTA-NF (Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescope for the
Atmosphere - New Frontiers) instrument is an airborne infrared limb
sounder operated aboard the Russian research aircraft M55-Geophysica.
The instrument successfully participated in a large Arctic aircraft
campaign within the RECONCILE (Reconciliation of essential process
parameters for an enhanced predictability of Arctic stratospheric ozone
loss and its climate interactions) project in Kiruna (Sweden) from
January to March 2010.
This paper concentrates on the measurements taken during one flight of
the campaign, which took place on 2 March in the vicinity of the polar
vortex. We present two-dimensional cross-sections of derived volume
mixing ratios for the trace gases CFC-11, O-3, and ClONO2 with an
unprecedented vertical resolution of about 500 to 600 m for a large part
of the observed altitude range (a parts per thousand 6-19 km) and a
dense horizontal sampling along flight direction of a parts per thousand
15 km. The trace gas distributions show several structures, for example
a part of the polar vortex and a vortex filament, which can be
identified by means of O-3-CFC-11 tracer-tracer correlations.
The observations made during this flight are interpreted using the
chemistry and transport model CLaMS (Chemical Lagrangian Model of the
Stratosphere). Comparisons of the observations with the model results
are used to assess the performance of the model with respect to
advection, mixing, and the chemistry in the polar vortex. These
comparisons confirm the capability of CLaMS to reproduce even very
small-scale structures in the atmosphere, which partly have a vertical
extent of only 1 km. Based on the good agreement between simulation and
observation, we use artificial (passive) tracers, which represent
different air mass origins (e.g. vortex, tropics), to further analyse
the CRISTA-NF observations in terms of the composition of air mass
origins. These passive tracers clearly illustrate the observation of
filamentary structures that include tropical air masses. A
characteristic of the Arctic winter 2009/10 was a sudden stratospheric
warming in December that led to a split of the polar vortex. The vortex
re-established at the end of December. Our passive tracer simulations
suggest that large parts of the re-established vortex consisted to about
45% of high- and mid-latitude air.

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  • C. Kalicinsky

  • J. U. Grooß

  • G. Günther

  • J. Ungermann

  • J. Blank

  • S. Höfer

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