Climate impact of idealized winter polar mesospheric and stratospheric ozone losses as caused by energetic particle precipitation

Meraner, Katharina; Schmidt, Hauke

Energetic particles enter the polar atmosphere and enhance the production of nitrogen oxides and hydrogen oxides in the winter stratosphere and mesosphere. Both components are powerful ozone destroyers. Recently, it has been inferred from observations that the direct effect of energetic particle precipitation (EPP) causes significant long-term mesospheric ozone variability. Satellites observe a decrease in mesospheric ozone up to 34 % between EPP maximum and EPP minimum. Stratospheric ozone decreases due to the indirect effect of EPP by about 10–15 % observed by satellite instruments. Here, we analyze the climate impact of winter boreal idealized polar mesospheric and polar stratospheric ozone losses as caused by EPP in the coupled Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM). Using radiative transfer modeling, we find that the radiative forcing of mesospheric ozone loss during polar night is small. Hence, climate effects of mesospheric ozone loss due to energetic particles seem unlikely. Stratospheric ozone loss due to energetic particles warms the winter polar stratosphere and subsequently weakens the polar vortex. However, those changes are small, and few statistically significant changes in surface climate are found.

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Meraner, Katharina / Schmidt, Hauke: Climate impact of idealized winter polar mesospheric and stratospheric ozone losses as caused by energetic particle precipitation. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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