JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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SSW, Sudden Stratospheric Warming hitting a record over Antarctica, Ozone hole almost gone already?

Two days ago over the Antarctic the SSW or Sudden Stratospheric Warming was still running strong up at 10 hPa or around 30 km high.

NIWA claim it may be the strongest SSW seen in the Southern Hemisphere ever (which means the last 50 years).

Temperatures in the  green circle marked in the centre were 11C, instead of minus 40 to minus 60C. As we mentioned before, this is extremely rare, and the likely implications are that sometime in the next few weeks a cold beast will hit somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, but no one really knows where. The Australian BOM are rather bravely predicting a warmer less rainy spring for NSW and QLD. (See below).

If only we really understood the major drivers of our climate we might have predicted this more than a few weeks in advance. Perhaps it is caused by some of those solar factors that the big GCM’s completely ignore?

From Nullschool:

Stratospheric Sudden Warming, Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica.

Two years ago, same time, we see a single large polar jetstream at 10hPA and temperatures of around minus 40C in the warmest part and minus 60 elsewhere in the jetstream. These normal winds flow [...]

Rare: Sudden Stratospheric Warming in the Southern Hemisphere — cold weather coming?

Right now a very rare southern SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) is taking place, possibly peaking today or this weekend over Antarctica. In the Northern Hemisphere SSW’s happen more often and in the month afterwards, wild polar blasts like the “Beast from the East” can peel off. So somewhere way up at 10hPa or 30 – 50 km, there is an area that’s warmed from -60C  to close to zero. The warming up high throws a spanner in the normal jet streams and weeks later, down at the surface, blobs of  cold air from the poles may end up wandering far from “home”.

We (as in Africa, Australia, Argentina, or New Zealand) may get bumper snow and severe frosts, or we may not. Some researchers are getting excited and are using the word “historic”.

These are rare over the Southern Hemisphere — due to Antarctica being shaped like a circular cheesecake right over the pole and surrounded by water. The geography is cleaner and simpler than at the north pole, and that generates a strong circumpolar jetstream.  The strong pattern normally stops these sudden warmings up high which occur with wandering jetstreams.

In the Southern Hemisphere there have only [...]