The Modeled Latitudinal Distribution of the Ozone Quasi-Biennial Oscillation Using Observed Equatorial Winds

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  • 1 Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon, United Kingdom
  • | 2 Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom
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Abstract

A simulation of precise years of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is achieved in a two-dimensional model by relaxing the modeled equatorial winds in the lower stratosphere toward radiosonde observations. The model has been run for the period 1971–90. A QBO signal in column ozone is produced in the model that agrees reasonably well with observational data from the BUV, TOMS, and SAGE II satellite datasets. The model results confirm previous indications of the importance of the interaction of the QBO with the annual cycle in the determination of the subtropical ozone anomaly. The low-frequency modulation of the subtropical ozone anomaly is now particularly clear.

The low-frequency modulation of the subtropical ozone anomaly in the model arises as a result of the interaction of the QBO with the annual cycle in the vertical advection by the Hadley circulation. The possibility of a further, similar modulation arising from the interaction of the equatorial wind QBO and the annual cycle in midlatitude eddy activity is discussed, with particular emphasis on the implications for the eddy transfer of ozone to high latitudes and on the ability to predict the severity of the Antarctic ozone hole. A link is proposed between the QBO signal in the severity of the Antarctic ozone hole and the amount of ozone observed in the subtropical/midlatitude springtime maximum in the Southern Hemisphere. On the basis of this relationship, the reliability of the model as a predictor of the severity of the ozone hole is explored. A conclusion of the study is that a reliable predictor of the severity of the ozone hole must take into account the timing of the descent of the equatorial wind QBO at the equator with respect to the annual cycle and that the use, as in previous studies, of a single parameter, such as the sign of the 50-mb equatorial wind, will not be entirely reliable because it cannot do this.

Abstract

A simulation of precise years of the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) is achieved in a two-dimensional model by relaxing the modeled equatorial winds in the lower stratosphere toward radiosonde observations. The model has been run for the period 1971–90. A QBO signal in column ozone is produced in the model that agrees reasonably well with observational data from the BUV, TOMS, and SAGE II satellite datasets. The model results confirm previous indications of the importance of the interaction of the QBO with the annual cycle in the determination of the subtropical ozone anomaly. The low-frequency modulation of the subtropical ozone anomaly is now particularly clear.

The low-frequency modulation of the subtropical ozone anomaly in the model arises as a result of the interaction of the QBO with the annual cycle in the vertical advection by the Hadley circulation. The possibility of a further, similar modulation arising from the interaction of the equatorial wind QBO and the annual cycle in midlatitude eddy activity is discussed, with particular emphasis on the implications for the eddy transfer of ozone to high latitudes and on the ability to predict the severity of the Antarctic ozone hole. A link is proposed between the QBO signal in the severity of the Antarctic ozone hole and the amount of ozone observed in the subtropical/midlatitude springtime maximum in the Southern Hemisphere. On the basis of this relationship, the reliability of the model as a predictor of the severity of the ozone hole is explored. A conclusion of the study is that a reliable predictor of the severity of the ozone hole must take into account the timing of the descent of the equatorial wind QBO at the equator with respect to the annual cycle and that the use, as in previous studies, of a single parameter, such as the sign of the 50-mb equatorial wind, will not be entirely reliable because it cannot do this.

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