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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 12 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

The effect of interactive ozone chemistry on weak and strong stratospheric polar vortex events

Jessica Oehrlein1, Gabriel Chiodo1,2, and Lorenzo M. Polvani1 Jessica Oehrlein et al.
  • 1Department of Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • 2Department of Environmental Systems Science, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Modeling and observational studies have reported effects of stratospheric ozone extremes on Northern Hemisphere spring climate. Recent work has further suggested that the coupling of ozone chemistry and dynamics amplifies the surface response to midwinter sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). Here, we study the importance of interactive ozone chemistry in representing the stratospheric polar vortex and Northern Hemisphere winter surface climate variability. We contrast two simulations from the interactive and specified chemistry (and thus ozone) versions of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model, designed to isolate the impact of interactive ozone on polar vortex variability. In particular, we analyze the response with and without interactive chemistry to midwinter SSWs, March SSWs, and strong polar vortex events (SPVs). With interactive chemistry, the stratospheric polar vortex is stronger, and more SPVs occur, but we find little effect on the frequency of midwinter SSWs. At the surface, interactive chemistry results in a pattern resembling a more negative North Atlantic Oscillation following midwinter SSWs, but with little impact on the surface signatures of late winter SSWs and SPVs. These results suggest that including interactive ozone chemistry is important for representing North Atlantic and European winter climate variability.

Jessica Oehrlein et al.

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Jessica Oehrlein et al.

Jessica Oehrlein et al.


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Latest update: 02 Jun 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Winter winds in the stratosphere, 10–50 km above the surface, impact climate at the surface. Prior studies suggest that this interaction between the stratosphere and the surface is affected by ozone. We compare two ways of including ozone in computer simulations of climate. One method is more realistic but more expensive. We find that the method of including ozone in simulations affects the surface climate when the stratospheric winds are unusually weak but not when they are unusually strong.
Winter winds in the stratosphere, 10–50 km above the surface, impact climate at the surface....