Brief communication "Stratospheric winds, transport barriers and the 2011 Arctic ozone hole"
The Arctic stratosphere throughout the late winter and early spring of 2011 was characterized by an unusually severe ozone loss, resulting in what has been described as an ozone hole. The 2011 ozone loss was made possible by unusually cold temperatures throughout the Arctic stratosphere. Here we consider the issue of what constitutes suitable environmental conditions for the formation and maintenance of a polar ozone hole. Our discussion focuses on the importance of the stratospheric wind field and, in particular, the importance of a high latitude zonal jet, which serves as a meridional transport barrier both prior to ozone hole formation and during the ozone hole maintenance phase. It is argued that stratospheric conditions in the boreal winter/spring of 2011 were highly unusual inasmuch as in that year Antarctic-like Lagrangian dynamics led to the formation of a boreal ozone hole.