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Introduction to Special Collection “The Exceptional Arctic Stratospheric Polar Vortex in 2019/2020:Causes and Consequences”
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  • Gloria L Manney,
  • Amy Hawes Butler,
  • Krzysztof Wargan,
  • Jens-Uwe Grooß
Gloria L Manney
Northwest Research Associates

Corresponding Author:manney@nwra.com

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Amy Hawes Butler
NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory
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Krzysztof Wargan
Science Systems and Applications, Inc.
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Jens-Uwe Grooß
Forschungszentrum Jülich
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This paper introduces the special collection in Geophysical Research Letters and Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres on the exceptional stratospheric polar vortex in 2019/2020. Papers in this collection show that the 2019/2020 stratospheric polar vortex was the strongest, most persistent, and coldest on record in the Arctic. The unprecedented Arctic chemical processing and ozone loss in spring 2020 has been studied using numerous satellite and ground-based datasets and chemistry-transport models. Quantitative estimates of chemical loss are broadly consistent among the studies and show profile loss of about the same magnitude as in the Arctic in 2011, but with most loss at lower altitudes; column loss was comparable to or larger than that in 2011. Several papers show evidence of dynamical coupling from the mesosphere down to the surface. Studies of tropospheric influence and impacts link the exceptionally strong vortex to reflection of upward propagating waves, and show coupling to tropospheric anomalies including extreme heat, precipitation, windstorms, and marine cold air outbreaks. Predictability of the exceptional stratospheric polar vortex in 2019/2020 and related predictability of surface conditions are explored. The exceptionally strong stratospheric polar vortex in 2019/2020 highlights the extreme interannual variability in the Arctic winter/spring stratosphere and the far-reaching consequences of such extremes.