Local and remote response of ozone to Arctic stratospheric circulation extremes

Hong, Hao-Jhe; Reichler, Thomas

Intense natural circulation variability associated with stratospheric sudden warmings, vortex intensifications, and final warmings is a typical feature of the winter Arctic stratosphere. The attendant changes in transport, mixing, and temperature create pronounced perturbations in stratospheric ozone. Understanding these perturbations is important because of their potential feedbacks with the circulation and because ozone is a key trace gas of the stratosphere. Here, we use Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), reanalysis to contrast the typical spatiotemporal structure of ozone during sudden warming and vortex intensification events. We examine the changes of ozone in both the Arctic and the tropics, document the underlying dynamical mechanisms for the observed changes, and analyze the entire life cycle of the stratospheric events – from the event onset in midwinter to the final warming in early spring. Over the Arctic and during sudden warmings, ozone undergoes a rapid and long-lasting increase of up to inline-formula∼ 50 DU, which only gradually decays to climatology before the final warming. In contrast, vortex intensifications are passive events, associated with gradual decreases in Arctic ozone that reach inline-formula∼ 40 DU during late winter and decay thereafter. The persistent loss in Arctic ozone during vortex intensifications is dramatically compensated by sudden warming-like increases after the final warming. In the tropics, the changes in ozone from Arctic circulation events are obscured by the influences from the quasi-biennial oscillation. After controlling for this effect, small but coherent reductions in tropical ozone can be seen during the onset of sudden warmings (inline-formula∼ 2.5 DU) and also during the final warmings that follow vortex intensifications (inline-formula∼ 2 DU). Our results demonstrate that Arctic circulation extremes have significant local and remote influences on the distribution of stratospheric ozone.

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Hong, Hao-Jhe / Reichler, Thomas: Local and remote response of ozone to Arctic stratospheric circulation extremes. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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