Climatology and predictability of the late summer stratospheric zonal wind turnaround over Vanscoy, Saskatchewan

Debra Wunch, Martin P. Tingley, Theodore G. Shepherd, James R. Drummond, G. W.K. Moore, Kimberly Strong

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14 Scopus citations


A climatology of the late summer stratospheric zonal wind turnaround phenomenon is presented, with a particular focus on the behaviour over the Meteorological Service of Canada's balloon-launching site at Vanscoy, Saskatchewan (52°N, 107°W). Turnaround refers to the change in sign of the zonal wind velocity and occurs twice each year at stratospheric mid-latitudes, in early spring and in late summer. The late summer turnaround is of particular interest to the high-altitude ballooning community because it offers the ideal conditions for launch, but it is also an interesting dynamical phenomenon in its own right. It is studied here using both the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (MetO) analysis products as well as climate simulation data from the Canadian Middle Atmosphere Model (CMAM). The phenomenon and its interannual variability are documented. The predictability of the late summer turnaround over Vanscoy is investigated using both statistical averages and autocorrelation analysis. From the statistical averages, it is found that during every year since 1993, the period from 26 August to 5 September has contained appropriate launch dates. From the auto-correlation analysis, it is found that stratospheric zonal wind anomalies can persist for a month or more during most of the summer, but there is a predictability horizon at the end of the summer - just before turnaround.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalAtmosphere - Ocean
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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