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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-581
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-581
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 27 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 27 Jun 2019

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

Future trends in stratosphere-to-troposphere transport in CCMI models

Marta Abalos1, Clara Orbe2, Douglas E. Kinnison3, David Plummer7, Luke D. Oman6, Patrick Jöckel5, Olaf Morgenstern4, Rolando R. Garcia3, Guang Zeng4, Kane A. Stone8,9,a, and Martin Dameris5 Marta Abalos et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Physics and Astrophysics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
  • 3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 5National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Wellington, New Zealand
  • 6NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 7Climate Research Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Montreal, Canada
  • 8School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
  • 9ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
  • anow at: Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Abstract. One of the key questions in the air quality and climate sciences is how will tropospheric ozone concentrations change in the future. This will depend on two factors: changes in stratosphere-to-troposphere transport (STT) and changes in tropospheric chemistry. Here we aim to identify robust changes in STT using simulations from the Chemistry Climate Model Initiative (CCMI) under a common climate change scenario (RCP6.0). We use two idealized stratospheric tracers to isolate changes in transport: stratospheric ozone (O3S), which is exactly like ozone but has no chemical sources in the troposphere, and st80, a passive tracer with fixed volume mixing ratio in the stratosphere. We find a robust increase in the tropospheric columns of these two tracers across the models. In particular, stratospheric ozone in the troposphere is projected to increase 10–16 % by the end of the 21st century in the RCP6.0 scenario. Future STT is enhanced in the subtropics due to the strengthening of the shallow branch of the Brewer-Dobson circulation (BDC) in the lower stratosphere and of the upper part of the Hadley cell in the upper troposphere. The acceleration of the deep branch of the BDC and changes in eddy transport contribute to increase STT at high latitudes. The idealized tracer st80 shows that these STT changes are dominated by greenhouse gas (GHG) increases, while phasing out of ozone depleting substances (ODS) does not lead to robust STT changes. Nevertheless, the increase of O3S concentrations in the troposphere is attributed to GHG only in the subtropics. At middle and high latitudes it is due to stratospheric ozone recovery linked to ODS decline. A higher emission scenario (RCP8.5) produces qualitatively similar but stronger STT trends, with changes in tropospheric column O3S more than three times larger than those in the RCP6.0 scenario by the end of the 21st century.

Marta Abalos et al.
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Marta Abalos et al.
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Short summary
How tropospheric ozone concentrations will change in the future remains an outstanding open question. Employing a group of state of the art chemistry climate models we examine the changes in downward transport from the stratosphere, a key contribution to tropospheric ozone. The acceleration of the stratospheric circulation will result in increased stratosphere-to-troposphere transport. Our results reveal the robustness of the results across models and explore the transport mechanisms involved.
How tropospheric ozone concentrations will change in the future remains an outstanding open...
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