Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are large and rapid temperature increases in the polar stratosphere associated with a complete reversal of the climatological westerly winds in wintertime. These events can have substantial impacts on wintertime surface climate, such as extreme cold air outbreaks over North America and Eurasia, or warming over Greenland.
This compendium of historical SSWs documents the stratospheric, tropospheric, and surface climate impacts of these events, both individually and composited, using a variety of time series, maps, and animations of daily data. Here, we examine only major mid-winter warmings, as defined by a zonal wind reversal between November-March of the 10 hPa and 60N zonal winds from westerly to easterly (Charlton and Polvani 2007). Additional events, such as minor and final warmings, may eventually be included.
Analyses are available from 6 different reanalyses: MERRA2 (1980-2014), JRA-55 (1958-2014), ERA-interim (1979-2014), ERA-40 (1958-2002), NOAA20CR (1958-2011), and NCEP-NCAR I (1958-2014). Anomaly fields are calculated from smoothed daily climatologies based on the full record of each reanalysis. Data is provided 60 days prior to and after each event.
The Sudden Stratospheric Warming Compendium (SSWC) database provides a simple way to plot and download information on historical SSW events; to consider the development, evolution, and impacts of both individual SSWs and their composite; and to provide a basis for model evaluation and improvement.
Point of Contact: Amy Butler, NOAA
Table of major mid-winter SSWs in reanalyses products
Four plot types are available. Select a value from each menu following a chosen plot type to browse that data.