Observational evidence of planetary wave influences on ozone enhancements over upper troposphere North Africa

Gizaw Mengistu Tsidu, Kassahun Ture, V. Sivakumar

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4 Citations (Scopus)


MOZAIC instrument measured enhanced ozone on two occasions in February, 1996 and 1997 at cruise altitude over North Africa. The cause and source of ozone enhancements over the region are investigated using additional reanalysis data from ERA-Interim. The ERA-Interim reprocessed GOME ozone indicated existence of enhancement as well. Both observational data revealed that the increase in ozone has wider latitudinal coverage extending from North Europe upto North Africa. The geopotential heights and zonal wind from ERA-Interim have indicated existence of planetary-scale flow that allowed meridional airmass exchanges between subtropics and higher latitudes. The presence of troughs-ridge pattern are attributable to large amplitude waves of zonal wavenumber 1-5 propagating eastward in the winter hemisphere westerly current as determined from Hayashi spectra as well as local fractional variance spectra determined from Multitaper Method-Singular Value Decomposition (MTM-SVD) spectral method. MTM-SVD is also used to understand the role of these waves on ozone enhancement and variability during the observation period in a mechanistic approach. A joint analysis of driving field, such as wind and potential vorticity (PV) for which only signals of the dominant zonal wavenumbers of prevailing planetary waves are retained, has revealed strong linkage between wave activity and ozone enhancement over the region at a temporal cycle of 5.8. days. One of these features is the displacement of the polar vortex southward during the enhancements, allowing strong airmass, energy and momentum exchanges. Evidence of cutoff laws that are formed within the deep trough, characteristics of Rossby wave breaking, is also seen in the ozone horizontal distribution at different pressure levels during the events. The reconstruction of signals with the cycle of 5.8. days has shown that the time and strength of enhancement depend on the circulation patterns dictated by planetary-scale flow relative to the location of observation. The positive PV anomalies upstream or at the observation region bring ozone rich airmass to the region while a negative PV anomaly upstream does the opposite. The position of the anomalies with time changes in accordance with the period of the waves involved. The snap shot of coherent variation of PV and ozone at different time during half cycle of the 5.8-day period has indicated that a region could experience positive (enhancement) or negative (depletion) ozone anomalies of different degree as the wave propagates eastward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalAtmospheric Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 8 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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