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Impact of Antarctic Ozone Depletion and Recovery on Southern Hemisphere Precipitation, Evaporation, and Extreme Changes

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

The possible impact of Antarctic ozone depletion and recovery on Southern Hemisphere (SH) mean and extreme precipitation and evaporation is examined using multimodel output from the Climate Model Intercomparison Project 3 (CMIP3). By grouping models into four sets, those with and without ozone depletion in twentieth-century climate simulations and those with and without ozone recovery in twenty-first-century climate simulations, and comparing their multimodel-mean trends, it is shown that Antarctic ozone forcings significantly modulate extratropical precipitation changes in austral summer. The impact on evaporation trends is however minimal, especially in twentieth-century climate simulations. In general, ozone depletion has increased (decreased) precipitation in high latitudes (midlatitudes), in agreement with the poleward displacement of the westerly jet and associated storm tracks by Antarctic ozone depletion. Although weaker, the opposite is also true for ozone recovery. These precipitation changes are primarily associated with changes in light precipitation (1–10 mm day−1). Contributions by very light precipitation (0.1–1 mm day−1) and moderate-to-heavy precipitation (>10 mm day−1) are minor. Likewise, no systematic changes are found in extreme precipitation events, although extreme surface wind events are highly sensitive to ozone forcings. This result indicates that, while extratropical mean precipitation trends are significantly modulated by ozone-induced large-scale circulation changes, extreme precipitation changes are likely more sensitive to thermodynamic processes near the surface than to dynamical processes in the free atmosphere.

Corresponding author address: Seok-Woo Son, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, 805 Sherbrooke West, Montreal QC H3A 2K6, Canada. E-mail: seok-woo.son@mcgill.ca

Abstract

The possible impact of Antarctic ozone depletion and recovery on Southern Hemisphere (SH) mean and extreme precipitation and evaporation is examined using multimodel output from the Climate Model Intercomparison Project 3 (CMIP3). By grouping models into four sets, those with and without ozone depletion in twentieth-century climate simulations and those with and without ozone recovery in twenty-first-century climate simulations, and comparing their multimodel-mean trends, it is shown that Antarctic ozone forcings significantly modulate extratropical precipitation changes in austral summer. The impact on evaporation trends is however minimal, especially in twentieth-century climate simulations. In general, ozone depletion has increased (decreased) precipitation in high latitudes (midlatitudes), in agreement with the poleward displacement of the westerly jet and associated storm tracks by Antarctic ozone depletion. Although weaker, the opposite is also true for ozone recovery. These precipitation changes are primarily associated with changes in light precipitation (1–10 mm day−1). Contributions by very light precipitation (0.1–1 mm day−1) and moderate-to-heavy precipitation (>10 mm day−1) are minor. Likewise, no systematic changes are found in extreme precipitation events, although extreme surface wind events are highly sensitive to ozone forcings. This result indicates that, while extratropical mean precipitation trends are significantly modulated by ozone-induced large-scale circulation changes, extreme precipitation changes are likely more sensitive to thermodynamic processes near the surface than to dynamical processes in the free atmosphere.

Corresponding author address: Seok-Woo Son, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, 805 Sherbrooke West, Montreal QC H3A 2K6, Canada. E-mail: seok-woo.son@mcgill.ca
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