Inconsistencies between chemistry climate model and observed lower stratospheric trends since 1998

William T. Ball, Gabriel Chiodo, Marta Abalos, Justin Alsing
2019 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> The stratospheric ozone layer shields surface life from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Following the Montreal Protocol ban of long-lived ozone depleting substances (ODSs), rapid depletion of total column ozone (TCO) ceased in the late 1990s and ozone above 32&amp;thinsp;km now enjoys a clear recovery. However, there is still no confirmation of TCO recovery, and evidence has emerged that ongoing quasi-global
more » ... amp;deg;&amp;thinsp;N) lower stratospheric ozone decreases may be responsible, dominated by low latitudes (30&amp;deg;&amp;thinsp;S&amp;ndash;30&amp;deg;&amp;thinsp;N). Chemistry climate models (CCMs) used to project future changes predict that lower stratospheric ozone will decrease in the tropics by 2100, but not at mid-latitudes (30&amp;deg;&amp;ndash;60&amp;deg;). Here, we show that CCMs display an ozone decline similar to that observed in the tropics over 1998&amp;ndash;2016, likely driven by a increase of tropical upwelling. On the other hand, mid-latitude lower stratospheric ozone is observed to decrease, while CCMs show an increase. Despite opposing lower stratospheric ozone changes, which should induce opposite temperature trends, CCM and observed temperature trends agree; we demonstrate that opposing model-observation stratospheric water vapour (SWV) trends, and their associated radiative effects, explain why temperature changes agree in spite of opposing ozone trends. We provide new evidence that the observed mid-latitude trends can be explained by enhanced mixing between the tropics and extratropics. We further show that the temperature trends are consistent with the observed mid-latitude ozone decrease. Together, our results suggest that large scale circulation changes expected in the future from increased greenhouse gases (GHGs) may now already be underway, but that most CCMs are not simulating well mid-latitude ozone layer changes. The reason CCMs do not exhibit the observed changes urgently needs to be understood to improve confidence in future projections of the ozone layer.</p>
doi:10.5194/acp-2019-734 fatcat:bvmgyh27tjc5vjguohnowml7ze