The effect of interactive ozone chemistry on weak and strong stratospheric polar vortex events

Oehrlein, Jessica; Chiodo, Gabriel; Polvani, Lorenzo M.

Modeling and observational studies have reported effects of stratospheric ozone extremes on Northern Hemisphere spring climate. Recent work has further suggested that the coupling of ozone chemistry and dynamics amplifies the surface response to midwinter sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). Here we study the importance of interactive ozone chemistry in representing the stratospheric polar vortex and Northern Hemisphere winter surface climate variability. We contrast two simulations from the interactive and specified chemistry (and thus ozone) versions of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model, which is designed to isolate the impact of interactive ozone on polar vortex variability. In particular, we analyze the response with and without interactive chemistry to midwinter SSWs, March SSWs, and strong polar vortex events (SPVs). With interactive chemistry, the stratospheric polar vortex is stronger and more SPVs occur, but we find little effect on the frequency of midwinter SSWs. At the surface, interactive chemistry results in a pattern resembling a more negative North Atlantic Oscillation following midwinter SSWs but with little impact on the surface signatures of late winter SSWs and SPVs. These results suggest that including interactive ozone chemistry is important for representing North Atlantic and European winter climate variability.

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Oehrlein, Jessica / Chiodo, Gabriel / Polvani, Lorenzo M.: The effect of interactive ozone chemistry on weak and strong stratospheric polar vortex events. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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