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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 06 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 06 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

EPP-NOx in Antarctic springtime stratospheric column: Evidence from observations and influence of the QBO

Emily Gordon1, Annika Seppälä1, and Johanna Tamminen2 Emily Gordon et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 2Space and Earth Observation Centre, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on the Aura satellite are used to study the effect of energetic particle precipitation (EPP, as proxied by the geomagnetic activity index Ap) on the Antarctic stratospheric NO2 column in late winter-spring (Aug-Dec) during the years 2005–2017. We show that the polar (60° S–90° S) stratospheric NO2 column is significantly correlated with EPP throughout the Antarctic spring, until the breakdown of the polar vortex in November. The strongest correlation takes place during years with easterly phase of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO). We propose that the QBO affects the polar springtime EPP-NOx in two ways: firstly by modulating the amount of the primary NOx source, N2O, transported to the polar region. Secondly, the QBO affects the temperature of the polar vortex and thus the amount of denitrification occurring in the polar vortex, also verified from HNO3 observations from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS/Aura). Our results suggest that NOx produced by EPP significantly contributes to the stratospheric NO2 column at the time when the ozone hole is present in the Antarctic stratosphere. Based on our findings, we recommend that as chlorine activation continues to decrease in the Antarctic stratosphere, the total EPP-NOx should be accounted for in predictions of Antarctic ozone recovery.

Emily Gordon et al.
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Emily Gordon et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Sun constantly emits high energy charged particles, which produce the ozone destroying chemical NOx in the polar atmosphere. NOx is transported to stratosphere, where the ozone layer is. Satellite observations show that the NOx gases remain in the atmosphere longer than previously reported. This is influenced by the strength of atmospheric large scale dynamics, suggesting that there are specific times when this type of solar influence on the Antarctic atmosphere becomes more pronounced.
The Sun constantly emits high energy charged particles, which produce the ozone destroying...