Aurora Borealis dynamics suggest that the polar vortex is breaking up again.

Credit: Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-47605-8

The Space Meteorology Research Group at the University of Oulu, Finland, has long been studying the effects of energetic particle showers from space, commonly known as the aurora borealis or northern lights, on winter weather variability. The aurora borealis is not only a beautiful light phenomenon, but also involves chemical changes that lead to ozone depletion in the polar stratosphere in winter.

Due to ozone depletion Accelerates , a strong wind that blows from west to east around the polar region during winter. Also increases the strong polar vortex. Produces mild winters at the surface, particularly in northern Europe and Finland.

“On the other hand, with a weaker particle during winter The polar vortex may weaken and even break completely, allowing cold Arctic air to flow south. This is what happens when Finland and Northern Europe in general get cold weather like this winter.”

“The polar vortex has already broken up once this winter and is predicted to break up again this coming weekend. Our own models have already predicted the polar vortex breaking up during winter last summer. was predicted.”

Experience shows that, especially in Finland, electricity consumption and, more generally, energy used for heating, is highly dependent on the weather. This begs the question: How much can particle precipitation from space through the polar vortex affect power consumption? A recent study by the University of Oulu’s Space Climate Group was the first to address this question.

the study, published I Scientific reportsfound a significant effect of particle precipitation on the Finnish winter temperature and the temperature-dependent part of electricity consumption during the winter period (January–March).

Aurora Borealis dynamics suggest that the polar vortex is breaking up again.

Finland’s total monthly electricity consumption (blue) and typical values ​​(red) from 1990 to 2021. The green curve shows the normalized monthly power consumption values ​​used in the analysis (linear trend removed from each month separately). Credit: Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-47605-8

At best, the variability associated with energetic particle precipitation was about 14% of the average level of electricity consumption during winter in Finland and explained up to 50% of the annual electricity consumption.

“The most important result of the study shows that particle precipitation, or as a proxy geophysical activity, significantly affects Finnish winter temperatures and electricity consumption through the polar vortex: Stronger particle precipitation corresponds to higher winter temperatures and lower power consumption, and vice versa, says doctoral researcher Vera Jantunen.

The study used comprehensive electricity consumption statistics from the Finnish Energy Association from the 1990s to the present day. “From these data, we had to carefully remove temperature-unrelated variations. The effect of particle precipitation on temperature and power consumption was then revealed,” says Juntunen.

This relationship held true from the 1950s to the present day, but interestingly only in winter when the equatorial surface winds, the so-called QBO winds, blow from the east.

“This QBO effect has already been observed in previous studies and is related to the fact that when the QBO winds are eastward, large-scale atmospheric waves, so-called planetary waves, travel from the lower atmosphere into the polar stratosphere. There, along with particle precipitation, they produce the observed effect on the polar vortex,” explains Asikainen.

The study reveals an interesting new social effect of space weather. Taking into account the precipitation of particles from space can help predict winter temperatures and Dissipation, at best, several months or even years in advance, if we learn how to better predict particle precipitation over longer periods than the present.

More information:
Veera Juntunen et al., Electricity consumption in Finland affected by climate effects of energetic particle precipitation, Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-47605-8

Provided by
University of Oulu

Reference: Aurora Borealis Dynamics Show Polar Vortex Is Breaking Up Again (2024, February 16) https://phys.org/news/2024-02-aurora-borealis-dynamics-polar-vortex.html February 18, 2024 Obtained from

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