Two- and three-dimensional structures of the descent of mesospheric trace constituents after the 2013 sudden stratospheric warming elevated stratopause event


We use the Specified Dynamics version of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model Extended (SD-WACCMX) to model the descent of nitric oxide (NO) and other mesospheric tracers in the extended, elevated stratopause phase of the 2013 sudden stratospheric warming (SSW). The dynamics are specified with a high-altitude version of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEMHA). Consistent with our earlier published results, we find that using a high-altitude meteorological analysis to nudge WACCMX allows for a realistic simulation of the descent of lower-thermospheric nitric oxide down to the lower mesosphere, near 60 km. This is important because these simulations only included auroral electrons and did not consider additional sources of NO from higher-energy particles that might directly produce ionization, and hence nitric oxide, below 80-85 km. This suggests that the so-called energetic particle precipitation indirect effect (EPP-IE) can be accurately simulated, at least in years of low geomagnetic activity, such as 2013, without the need for additional NO production, provided the meteorology is accurately constrained. Despite the general success of WACCMX in bringing uppermesospheric NO down to 55-60 km, a detailed comparison of the WACCMX fields with the analyzed NAVGEMHA H2O and satellite NO and H2O data from the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) and the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment-Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) reveals significant differences in the latitudinal and longitudinal distributions at lower altitudes. This stems from the tendency for WACCMX descent to maximize at sub-polar latitudes, and while such sub-polar descent is seen in the NAVGEM-HA analysis, it is more transient than in the WACCMX simulation. These differences are linked to differences in the transformed Eulerian mean (TEM) circulation between NAVGEM-HA and WACCMX, most likely arising from differences in how gravity wave forcing is represented. To attempt to compensate for the differing distributions of model vs. observed NO and to enable us to quantify the total amount of upper-atmospheric NO delivered to the stratopause region, we use potential vorticity and equivalent latitude coordinates. Preliminary results suggest both model and observations are generally consistent with NO totals in the range of 0.1-0.25 gigamoles (GM).