Lagrangian study of the final warming in the southern stratosphere during 2002: Part II. 3D structure

Jezabel Curbelo*, Carlos R. Mechoso, Ana M. Mancho, Stephen Wiggins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


This two-part paper aims to provide a Lagrangian perspective of the final southern warming in spring of 2002, during which the stratospheric polar vortex (SPV) experienced a unique splitting. We approach the subject from a dynamical systems viewpoint and search for Lagrangian coherent structures using a Lagrangian descriptor that is applied to reanalysis data. Part I presents our methodology and focuses by means of a kinematic model, on the understanding of fundamental processes for filamentation and ultimately for vortex splitting on an isentropic surface in the middle stratosphere. The present Part II discusses the three dimensional evolution of the flow during the selected event. For this, we apply the definition of vortex boundary developed in Part I for guidance in the selection of trajectories to illuminate the evolving flow structures, and invoke a criterion that allows to justify why at an isentropic level a pinched vortex will split in later times. Lagrangian structures identified include surfaces that are several kilometers deep, and which a particle trajectory analysis confirms as barriers to the flow. The role of Lagrangian structures in determining the fate of particles during the SPV splitting is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1277-1286
Number of pages10
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number3-4
Early online date17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


  • Filamentation
  • Lagrangian transport structures
  • Links between troposphere and stratosphere
  • Normally hyperbolic invariant manifold (NHIM)
  • Stratospheric warming
  • Vortex split


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