Project: ExCirEs: extremes of winter stratospheric circulation

Funded by: Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología

Main researcher: Laura de la Torre Ramos

Participant researchers:

  • Luis Gimeno Presa 
  • Juan Antonio Añel Cabanelas 
  • Mª Teresa de Castro 
  • Carlos Fernández Sánchez (Centro de Supercomputación de Galicia) 
  • Víctor Manuel Chávez Pérez 


The stratospheric extratropical circulation during the cold season (i. e. the stratospheric polar vortex) undergoes two extreme processes: sudden stratospheric warmings (SSW, when the zonal winds weaken and even reverse) and periods characterized by a very intense vortex, usually after the SSWs.

It has been shown that these extreme processes influence phenomena as important as the stratospheric ozone hole or the variability modes that lead the tropospheric temperature patterns and storm tracks, increasing their predictability. However, the number of studies about these phenomena is small, most of them about individual events, and they are centered around the polar anomalies, instead of following the vortex as it moves. 

The objectives of this project are understanding the processes that lead to the anomalous behavior of the circulation and studying its direct impacts, both in the polar cap and following the vortex. We will also look for the the keys of the different behaviors of the vortex (major vs. minor, displacement vs. split) and the differences with the final warmings at the end of the cold season, when the stratosphere- troposphere dynamical coupling is not more possible. Also, the impacts on the Brewer Dobson circulation, the recovery of the stratospheric polar ozone, the polar tropopause or the polar jet will be studied. Finally, the evolution of the intensity and frequency of these phenomena in several climate change scenarios will be studied.

Líneas de Investigación para trabajos Fin de Grado en Ciencias Ambientales