Dynamical analysis of tropopause folding events in the coastal region of Antarctica

Composites of height-latitude sections of potential temperature (contour) and anomalies of vertical winds (color) at 39.5E.


Tropopause folding events (TFs) are characterized by the rapid and deep descent of the tropopause and is considered to play a significant role in mass exchange between the stratosphere and troposphere. In the present study, TFs occurring in the Antarctic coastal region were examined using ERA-5 data set. First, the climatological distribution of TF frequency in the extratropics of the Southern Hemisphere was examined. Similar to results from previous studies, TFs were found to often occur along the coast of Antarctica, which is located more than 1000 km south of the maximum of the eddy kinetic energy of synoptic-scale disturbances. This result suggests that the climatological pattern of frequency of TFs in the southern high latitudes cannot be explained only by the geographical distribution of storm tracks. Next, a composite analysis of TFs at Syowa Station was performed. When the negative anomaly of the tropopause height was greatest, strong Q-vector divergence and downwelling were observed in the vicinity of the TF locations. The distribution of Q vectors is related to a local westerly jet and strengthening of the frontal structure associated with meridionally contracted synoptic-scale disturbances. The roles of the topography of the Antarctic Plateau and the radiative cooling on the surface of the continent during the contraction of the disturbances are also discussed based on ray-tracing theory.

Journal of Climate