Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research

MIPAS Polar Stratospheric Cloud measurements revisited

The figure shows the sudden appearance of Polar Stratospheric Clouds composed of nitric acit trihydrate (NAT) on June 11, 2003 explained by a strong mountain wave event over the Antarctic Peninsula.

Höpfner et al. (2006) discovered the sudden onset of Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) composed of small nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) particles forming a belt-like structure around the cold region in the stratosphere on June 11, 2003. This type of PSCs appeared several weeks after the first PSCs formed over Antarctica in mid-May. Model results have explained these to be formed by heterogeneous nucleation on ice in the cooling phases of large-amplitude stratospheric mountain waves over the Antarctic Peninsula. The presence of such waves has been confirmed recently through independent observations (Eckermann et al., 2009).