The figures below show an example of the application of the EDs to
data from a general circulation model (GCM). The upper plots show maps
of the the vortex edge as defined by the N2O = 60 ppb contour,
together with the elliptical fit to the contour. The lower plots show
the time series of two of the EDs: (i) latitude of center, (ii) aspect
ratio, and (iii) mean-square departure from ellipse. These time series
summarize, and quantify, the features shown in the N2O maps: (i) the
vortex is centered off the pole over northern Europe (mean latitude of
center is 80N), (ii) the vortex is roughly circular (aspect ratio
approximately 1) at beginning and end of period but is elongated
during the middle of the period (aspect ratio = 2.6), and (iii) the
elliptical fit is poorest during the middle of the period.
[Click on highlighted images for larger view.]
The EDs have been applied to 18 years of satellite data, and
climatologies of the observed stratospheric polar vortices formed.
These climatologies show many differences in the structure, seasonal
variability, and interannual of the Antarctic and Arctic vortices. For
example, as shown in the plots below, the Arctic vortex is smaller,
displaced further off the pole and more elongated than the Antarctic
vortex. See Waugh and Randel (1998) for
The Eds have also been used to assess the predictive skill of numerical weather prediction systems (Waugh et al. 1998), and to examine structure of vortices in idealized numerical calculations (Waugh and Dritschel 1998).