Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 4, 6559-6602, 2004
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Simulation of stratospheric water vapor trends: impact on stratospheric ozone chemistry
A. Stenke and V. Grewe
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, D-82234 Weßling, Germany

Abstract. A transient model simulation from 1960 to 2000 with the coupled climate-chemistry model (CCM) shows a stratospheric water vapor trend during the last two decades of +0.7 ppmv and additionally a short-term increase during volcanic eruptions. At the same time this model simulation shows a long-term decrease in total ozone and a short-term tropical ozone decline after a volcanic eruption. In order to understand the resulting effects of the water vapor changes on stratospheric ozone chemistry, different perturbation simulations have been performed with the CCM with the water vapor perturbations fed only to the chemistry part. Two different long-term perturbations of stratospheric water vapor, +1 ppmv and +5 ppmv, and a short-term perturbation of +2 ppmv with an e-folding time of two months have been simulated. Since water vapor acts as an in-situ source of odd hydrogen in the stratosphere, the water vapor perturbations affect the gas-phase chemistry of hydrogen oxides. An additional water vapor amount of +1 ppmv results in a 5–10%  increase. Coupling processes between and / also affect the ozone destruction by other catalytic reaction cycles. The  cycle becomes 6.4% more effective, whereas the cycle is 1.6% less effective. A long-term water vapor increase does not only affect the gas-phase chemistry, but also the heterogeneous ozone chemistry in polar regions. The additional water vapor intensifies the strong denitrification of the Antarctic winter stratosphere caused by an enhanced formation of polar stratospheric clouds. Thus it further facilitates the catalytic ozone removal by the cycle. The reduction of total column ozone during Antarctic spring peaks at −3%. In contrast, heterogeneous chemistry during Arctic winter is not affected by the water vapor increase. The short-term perturbation studies show similar patterns, but because of the short perturbation time, the chemical effect on ozone is almost negligible. Finally, this study shows that 10% of the simulated long-term ozone decline in the transient model simulation can be explained by the water vapor increase, but the simulated tropical ozone decrease after volcanic eruptions is caused dynamically rather than chemically.

Citation: Stenke, A. and Grewe, V.: Simulation of stratospheric water vapor trends: impact on stratospheric ozone chemistry, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 4, 6559-6602, doi:10.5194/acpd-4-6559-2004, 2004.
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