Possible implications of enhanced chlorofluorocarbon-11 concentrations on ozone

Dameris, Martin; Jöckel, Patrick; Nützel, Matthias

This numerical model study is motivated by the observed global deviation from assumed emissions of chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11, CFCl3) in recent years. Montzka et al. (2018) discussed a strong deviation of the assumed emissions of CFC-11 over the past 15 years, which indicates a violation of the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer. An investigation is performed which is based on chemistry–climate model (CCM) simulations that analyze the consequences of an enhanced CFC-11 surface mixing ratio. In comparison to a reference simulation (REF-C2), where a decrease of the CFC-11 surface mixing ratio of about 50 % is assumed from the early 2000s to the middle of the century (i.e., a mixing ratio in full compliance with the Montreal Protocol agreement), two sensitivity simulations are carried out. In the first simulation the CFC-11 surface mixing ratio is kept constant after the year 2002 until 2050 (SEN-C2-fCFC11_2050); this allows a qualitative estimate of possible consequences of a high-level stable CFC-11 surface mixing ratio on the ozone layer. In the second sensitivity simulation, which is branched off from the first sensitivity simulation, it is assumed that the Montreal Protocol is fully implemented again starting in the year 2020, which leads to a delayed decrease of CFC-11 in this simulation (SEN-C2-fCFC11_2020) compared with the reference simulation; this enables a rough and most likely upper-limit assessment of how much the unexpected CFC-11 emissions to date have already affected ozone. In all three simulations, the climate evolves under the same greenhouse gas scenario (i.e., RCP6.0) and all other ozone-depleting substances decline (according to this scenario). Differences between the reference (REF-C2) and the two sensitivity simulations (SEN-C2-fCFC11_2050 and SEN-C2-fCFC11_2020) are discussed. In the SEN-C2-fCFC11_2050 simulation, the total column ozone (TCO) in the 2040s (i.e., the years 2041–2050) is particularly affected in both polar regions in winter and spring. Maximum discrepancies in the TCO values are identified with reduced ozone values of up to around 30 Dobson units in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) polar region during SH spring (in the order of 15 %). An analysis of the respective partial column ozone (PCO) for the stratosphere indicates that the strongest ozone changes are calculated for the polar lower stratosphere, where they are mainly driven by the enhanced stratospheric chlorine content and associated heterogeneous chemical processes. Furthermore, it was found that the calculated ozone changes, especially in the upper stratosphere, are surprisingly small. For the first time in such a scenario, we perform a complete ozone budget analysis regarding the production and loss cycles. In the upper stratosphere, the budget analysis shows that the additional ozone depletion due to the catalysis by reactive chlorine is partly compensated for by other processes related to enhanced ozone production or reduced ozone loss, for instance from nitrous oxide (NOx). Based on the analysis of the SEN-C2-fCFC11_2020 simulation, it was found that no major ozone changes can be expected after the year 2050, and that these changes are related to the enhanced CFC-11 emissions in recent years.

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Dameris, Martin / Jöckel, Patrick / Nützel, Matthias: Possible implications of enhanced chlorofluorocarbon-11 concentrations on ozone. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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