Decadal Changes of Wind Stress over the Southern Ocean Associated with Antarctic Ozone Depletion Academic Article uri icon


  • Using 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) data and in situ observations, the positive trend of Southern Ocean surface wind stress during two recent decades is detected, and its close linkage with spring Antarctic ozone depletion is established. The spring Antarctic ozone depletion affects the Southern Hemisphere lower-stratospheric circulation in late spring/early summer. The positive feedback involves the strengthening and cooling of the polar vortex, the enhancement of meridional temperature gradients and the meridional and vertical potential vorticity gradients, the acceleration of the circumpolar westerlies, and the reduction of the upward wave flux. This feedback loop, together with the ozone-related photochemical interaction, leads to the upward tendency of lower-stratospheric zonal wind in austral summer. In addition, the stratosphere–troposphere coupling, facilitated by ozone-related dynamics and the Southern Annular Mode, cooperates to relay the zonal wind anomalies to the upper troposphere. The wave–mean flow interaction and the meridional circulation work together in the form of the Southern Annular Mode, which transfers anomalous wind signals downward to the surface, triggering a striking strengthening of surface wind stress over the Southern Ocean.

publication date

  • July 2007