1Laboratory for the Middle Atmosphere and Global Environmental Observation (LAGEO), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
2Graduate University of the Chinese academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
3National Center of Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
4Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms (LACS), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Abstract. We use the stratospheric/tropospheric chemical transport model MOZART-3 to study the distribution and transport of stratospheric O3 during the exceptionally intense stratospheric sudden warming event observed in January 2004 in the Northern polar region. A comparison between observations by the MIPAS instrument on board the ENVISAT spacecraft and model simulations shows that the evolution of the polar vortex and of planetary waves during the warming event plays an important role in controlling the spatial distribution of stratospheric ozone and the downward ozone flux in the lower stratospheric and upper tropospheric regions. Compared to the situation during the winter of 2002–2003, lower ozone concentrations were transported from the polar regions (polar vortex) to mid-latitudes, leading to exceptional large areas of low ozone concentrations outside the polar vortex and "low-ozone pockets" in the middle stratosphere. The unusually long-lasting stratospheric westward winds (easterlies) during the 2003–2004 event greatly restricted the upward propagation of planetary waves, causing the weak transport of ozone-rich air originated from low latitudes to the middle polar stratosphere (10 hPa). The restricted wave activities led to a reduced downward ozone flux from the lower stratosphere (LS) to the upper troposphere (UT), especially in East Asia. Consequently, in this region during wintertime (December and January), the column ozone between 100 and 300 hPa was about 10% lower during the 2003–2004 event compared to the situation in 2002–2003.