Environmental Terminology and Discovery Service (ETDS)

 
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polar vortex
This is a phenomenon that occurs during the polar winter in which stratospheric air moves in a circular motion, with an area of relatively still air in its centre. The temperature in the vortex is approximately -130 degrees F (-80 degrees C), which assists in the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. Though usually more prolonged and colder over Antarctica, the Arctic polar vortex does form to a degree, and when the temperatures there are coldest and the vortex persists, Arctic stratospheric ozone destruction on Arctic polar stratospheric clouds has also been observed. [definition source: San Houston State University. Atmospheric chemistry glossary, 2000 version.]

Terminology source: http://glossary.eea.europa.eu

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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