1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
2Climate and Environment Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
3Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
4Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos and World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC), Davos, Switzerland
5Eawag, Surface Waters group, Switzerland
6Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Abstract. The response of atmospheric chemistry and climate to volcanic eruptions and a decrease in solar activity during the Dalton Minimum is investigated with the fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-chemistry general circulation model SOCOL-MPIOM covering the time period 1780 to 1840 AD. We carried out several sensitivity ensemble experiments to separate the effects of (i) reduced solar ultra-violet (UV) irradiance, (ii) reduced solar visible and near infrared irradiance, (iii) enhanced galactic cosmic ray intensity as well as less intensive solar energetic proton events and auroral electron precipitation, and (iv) volcanic aerosols. The introduced changes of UV irradiance and volcanic aerosols significantly influence stratospheric climate in the early 19th century, whereas changes in the visible part of the spectrum and energetic particles have smaller effects. A reduction of UV irradiance by 15% causes global ozone decrease below the stratopause reaching 8% in the midlatitudes at 5 hPa and a significant stratospheric cooling of up to 2 °C in the midstratosphere and to 6 °C in the lower mesosphere. Changes in energetic particle precipitation lead only to minor changes in the yearly averaged temperature fields in the stratosphere. Volcanic aerosols heat the tropical lower stratosphere allowing more water vapor to enter the tropical stratosphere, which, via HOx reactions, decreases upper stratospheric and mesospheric ozone by roughly 4%. Conversely, heterogeneous chemistry on aerosols reduces stratospheric NOx leading to a 12% ozone increase in the tropics, whereas a decrease in ozone of up to 5% is found over Antarctica in boreal winter. The linear superposition of the different contributions is not equivalent to the response obtained in a simulation when all forcing factors are applied during the DM – this effect is especially well visible for NOx/NOy. Thus, this study highlights the non-linear behavior of the coupled chemistry-climate system. Finally, we conclude that especially UV and volcanic eruptions dominate the changes in the ozone, temperature and dynamics while the NOx field is dominated by the EPP. Visible radiation changes have only very minor effects on both stratospheric dynamics and chemistry.