Stratospheric Polar Vortex

Extreme Weather & Climate Change

photo by Paulo Brando

The research team uses Self-Organizing Maps (SOMs), an AI-based pattern recognition tool, to analyze the behavior of the stratospheric polar vortex. This research has two goals:

  • Develop a more comprehensive way to identify different disruptions to the stratospheric polar vortex. Current research methods only identify disruptions that lead to a reversal of wind direction from westerly to easterly in a specific latitude, missing other types of disruptions. The team’s approach provides a new, more complete listing of disruptions to the stratospheric polar vortex.
  • Assess the potential for using SOMs to further analyze triggers and impacts of disruptions in the stratospheric polar vortex.SOMs may be able to help researchers isolate what triggers disruptions to the stratospheric polar vortex, relate extreme winter weather events to those disruptions, and even evaluate how well global climate models simulate linkages between the troposphere and stratosphere.


This work is supported by Woodwell Climate’s Fund for Climate Solutions.