1Research Center Jülich, Institute for Stratospheric Research (ICG-I), Jülich, Germany
2University of Frankfurt, Institute for Meteorology, Frankfurt, Germany
3University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
4Etas GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany
Abstract. Chlorine monoxide (ClO) plays a key role in stratospheric ozone loss processes at midlatitudes. We present two balloonborne in situ measurements of ClO conducted in northern hemisphere midlatitudes during the period of the maximum of total inorganic chlorine loading in the atmosphere. Both ClO measurements were conducted on board the TRIPLE balloon payload, launched in November 1996 in León, Spain, and in May 1999 in Aire sur l'Adour, France. For both flights a ClO daylight and night time vertical profile could be derived over an altitude range of approximately 15–31 km. ClO mixing ratios are compared to model simulations performed with the photochemical box model version of the Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere (CLaMS). Simulations along 24-h backward trajectories were performed to study the diurnal variation of ClO in the midlatitude lower stratosphere. Model simulations for the flight launched in Aire sur l'Adour 1999 show a good agreement with the ClO measurements. For the flight launched in León 1996, a similar good agreement is found, except at around ≈650 K potential temperature (≈26 km altitude). However, a tendency is found that for solar zenith angles greater than 86°–87° the simulated ClO mixing ratios substantially overestimate measured ClO by approximately a factor of 2.5 or more for both flights. Therefore we conclude that no indication can be deduced from the presented ClO measurements that substantial uncertainties exist in midlatitude chlorine chemistry of the stratosphere. An exception is the situation at solar zenith angles greater than 86°–87° where model simulations substantial overestimate ClO observations.