Linking uncertainty in simulated Arctic ozone loss to uncertainties in modelled tropical stratospheric water vapour

Thölix, Laura; Karpechko, Alexey; Backman, Leif; Kivi, Rigel

Stratospheric water vapour influences the chemical ozone loss in the polar stratosphere via control of the polar stratospheric cloud formation. The amount of water vapour entering the stratosphere through the tropical tropopause differs substantially between simulations from chemistry–climate models (CCMs). This is because the present-day models, e.g. CCMs, have difficulties in capturing the whole complexity of processes that control the water transport across the tropopause. As a result there are large differences in the stratospheric water vapour between the models.

In this study we investigate the sensitivity of simulated Arctic ozone loss to the simulated amount of water vapour that enters the stratosphere through the tropical tropopause. We used a chemical transport model, FinROSE-CTM, forced by ERA-Interim meteorology. The water vapour concentration in the tropical tropopause was varied between 0.5 and 1.6 times the concentration in ERA-Interim, which is similar to the range seen in chemistry–climate models. The water vapour changes in the tropical tropopause led to about 1.5 inline-formulappmv less and 2 inline-formulappmv more water vapour in the Arctic polar vortex compared to the ERA-Interim, respectively. The change induced in the water vapour concentration in the tropical tropopause region was seen as a nearly one-to-one change in the Arctic polar vortex.

We found that the impact of water vapour changes on ozone loss in the Arctic polar vortex depends on the meteorological conditions. The strongest effect was in intermediately cold stratospheric winters, such as the winter of 2013/2014, when added water vapour resulted in 2 %–7 % more ozone loss due to the additional formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) and associated chlorine activation on their surface, leading to ozone loss. The effect was less pronounced in cold winters such as the 2010/2011 winter because cold conditions persisted long enough for a nearly complete chlorine activation, even in simulations with prescribed stratospheric water vapour amount corresponding to the observed values. In this case addition of water vapour to the stratosphere led to increased areas of ICE PSCs but it did not increase the chlorine activation and ozone destruction significantly. In the warm winter of 2012/2013 the impact of water vapour concentration on ozone loss was small because the ozone loss was mainly inline-formulaNOx-induced. The results show that the simulated water vapour concentration in the tropical tropopause has a significant impact on the Arctic ozone loss and therefore needs to be well simulated in order to improve future projections of the recovery of the ozone layer.

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Zitierform:

Thölix, Laura / Karpechko, Alexey / Backman, Leif / et al: Linking uncertainty in simulated Arctic ozone loss to uncertainties in modelled tropical stratospheric water vapour. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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