19 Jan 2024
 | 19 Jan 2024

Observation and simulation of neutral air density in the middle atmosphere during the 2021 sudden stratospheric warming event

Junfeng Yang, Jianmei Wang, Dan Liu, Wenjie Guo, and Yiming Zhang

Abstract. Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are dramatic events in the polar winter stratosphere that are accompanied by atmospheric parameter anomalies in the stratosphere and mesosphere. Microwave Limb Sounder and Global Navigation Satellite System Occultation Sounder observations on board the Chinese FengYun 3 satellites indicate a rapid increase of over 50 % in the mesospheric density at high latitudes around the onset date during the 2021 major SSW event. The amplification of the zonal mean density around the onset is proportional to the latitude increase with a maximum increment of 83.3 % at 59 km above 80° N, which is more than three times larger than the climatological standard deviation (23.1 %). The horizontal density distributions are influenced by the changing polar vortex fields. A simulation using a specified dynamics version of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model is consistent overall with the observations and presents a severe change in the planetary wave forcing and residual meridional circulation mass flux followed by a change in the density tendency. These results demonstrate that the observed enhanced density is primarily attributed to the altered planetary waves and residual circulation during the SSW event. The observations and simulations also indicate that the density anomalies could extend to middle latitudes. Obvious density disturbances in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere were observed by lidar deployed in Beijing (40.3° N, 116.2° E).

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Junfeng Yang, Jianmei Wang, Dan Liu, Wenjie Guo, and Yiming Zhang

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3162', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Apr 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Junfeng Yang, 09 May 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3162', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Apr 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Junfeng Yang, 09 May 2024
Junfeng Yang, Jianmei Wang, Dan Liu, Wenjie Guo, and Yiming Zhang
Junfeng Yang, Jianmei Wang, Dan Liu, Wenjie Guo, and Yiming Zhang


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Short summary
Atmospheric drag, a direct function of the atmospheric density, is vary seriously over several aircraft flights. This indicates that the natural density evolution needs to be acutely analyzed. However, the middle atmospheric density response to sudden stratospheric warming events has rarely been reported. In this study, the air density anomaly distribution and mass transport process are illustrated based on observation data and global numerical model simulations during the 2021 major SSW event.