Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 5423-5446, 2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed
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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.
Reassessment of causes of ozone column variability following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo using a nudged CCM
P. Telford1, P. Braesicke1, O. Morgenstern1,2, and J. Pyle1
1NCAS-Chemistry-Climate, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
2now at now at National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Private Bag 50061, Omakau, Central Otago 9352, New Zealand

Abstract. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo produced the largest loading of stratospheric sulphate aerosol in the twentieth century. This heated the tropical lower stratosphere, affecting stratospheric circulation, and provided enhanced surface area for heterogeneous chemistry. These factors combined to produce record low values of extra-polar total ozone column. Though well studied, there remains some uncertainty about the attribution of this low ozone, with contributions from both chemical and dynamical effects. We take a complementary approach to previous studies, nudging the temperature and horizontal winds in the new UKCA CCM to reproduce the atmospheric response and assess the impact on global total ozone. We then combine model runs and observations to attribute the variability to chemical and dynamical effects. To estimate the effects of increased heterogeneous chemistry we compare runs with volcanically enhanced and background surface aerosol density, noting that this causes depletion of global ozone peaking at about 7 DU in early 1993, in good agreement with observations. We subtract this effect from the observed variability and attribute the remaining variability to dynamical effects. We see that the remaining variability is dominated by the QBO. In addition to global averages we examine tropical and mid-latitude ozone, diagnosing contributions from El Niño in the tropics and some dynamically driven low ozone in northern mid-latitudes, which we see as possible evidence of changes in the QBO. We conclude that, on a global scale, the record lows of extra-polar ozone are produced by the increased heterogeneous chemistry, although there is evidence for dynamics having producing low ozone in certain regions, such as northern mid-latitudes.

Citation: Telford, P., Braesicke, P., Morgenstern, O., and Pyle, J.: Reassessment of causes of ozone column variability following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo using a nudged CCM, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 5423-5446, doi:10.5194/acpd-9-5423-2009, 2009.
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