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Richard S. Stolarski, Richard D. McPeters, and Paul A. Newman

Abstract

Since its discovery in 1985, the ozone hole has been regularly mapped using the data from Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) instruments on several satellites. The current TOMS, on the Earth Probe satellite, has been taking measurements since 1996. The ozone hole first appeared during the 1980s. Since 1990, the hole has consistently developed during each Antarctic spring over a broad area with the minimum total ozone value reaching about 100 Dobson units (DU; 1 DU = 2.69 × 1016 molecules cm−2) in late September or early October. The year 2002 was markedly different from the past 12 years. A series of strong wave events weakened the South Polar vortex. In late September, a major stratospheric warming took place, reversing the direction of the polar flow and the latitudinal temperature gradient. This warming resulted in a division of the ozone hole into two pieces, one that migrated to lower latitudes and disappeared and one that reformed over the Pole in a weakened form. The development of this year’s unusual ozone hole is shown here and is contrasted to a climatology of the years since 1990. Minimum daily values of total ozone barely reached 150 DU in contrast to values nearer to 100. The area of the ozone hole briefly reached 18 × 106 km2, then dropped rapidly to only 2 × 106 km2, and finally recovered to about 8 × 106 km2 before disappearing in early November. The positive anomaly compared with the last 12 yr near the Pole was accompanied by a smaller negative anomaly north of 45°S.

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Richard S. Stolarski, Anne R. Douglass, Stephen Steenrod, and Steven Pawson

Abstract

Stratospheric ozone is affected by external factors such as chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs), volcanoes, and the 11-yr solar cycle variation of ultraviolet radiation. Dynamical variability due to the quasi-biennial oscillation and other factors also contribute to stratospheric ozone variability. A research focus during the past two decades has been to quantify the downward trend in ozone due to the increase in industrially produced CFCs. During the coming decades research will focus on detection and attribution of the expected recovery of ozone as the CFCs are slowly removed from the atmosphere. A chemical transport model (CTM) has been used to simulate stratospheric composition for the past 30 yr and the next 20 yr using 50 yr of winds and temperatures from a general circulation model (GCM). The simulation includes the solar cycle in ultraviolet radiation, a representation of aerosol surface areas based on observations including volcanic perturbations from El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991, and time-dependent mixing ratio boundary conditions for CFCs, halons, and other source gases such as N2O and CH4. A second CTM simulation was carried out for identical solar flux and boundary conditions but with constant “background” aerosol conditions. The GCM integration included an online ozonelike tracer with specified production and loss that was used to evaluate the effects of interannual variability in dynamics. Statistical time series analysis was applied to both observed and simulated ozone to examine the capability of the analyses for the determination of trends in ozone due to CFCs and to separate these trends from the solar cycle and volcanic effects in the atmosphere. The results point out several difficulties associated with the interpretation of time series analyses of atmospheric ozone data. In particular, it is shown that lengthening the dataset reduces the uncertainty in derived trend due to interannual dynamic variability. It is further shown that interannual variability can make it difficult to accurately assess the impact of a volcanic eruption, such as Pinatubo, on ozone. Such uncertainties make it difficult to obtain an early proof of ozone recovery in response to decreasing chlorine.

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Matthew T. DeLand, Richard P. Cebula, Liang-Kang Huang, Steven L. Taylor, Richard S. Stolarski, and Richard D. McPeters

Abstract

Satellite measurements using the backscattered ultraviolet technique provide a powerful method for the observation of stratospheric ozone. However, rapid input signal variations over three to four orders of magnitude in several minutes can lead to problems with instrument response. Inflight data have recently been used to characterize a “hysteresis” problem on the NOAA-9 SBUV/2 instrument, which affects measurements made shortly after emerging from darkness. Radiance values observed under these conditions can be up to 2%–3% lower than expected. A correction has been derived for NOAA-9 data that is solar zenith angle dependent and varies in amplitude and time. Typical changes to affected polar total ozone values are on the order of 1% but can reach 5% in some cases. Profile ozone changes are altitude dependent, with maximum values of 4%–5% at 1 hPa. The NOAA-11 and NOAA-14 SBUV/2 instruments have a much smaller hysteresis effect than that observed for NOAA-9 SBUV/2 due to a change in photomultiplier tubes. The Nimbus-7 SBUV instrument also shows a hysteresis effect, which has not been fully characterized at this time.

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Luke Oman, Darryn W. Waugh, Steven Pawson, Richard S. Stolarski, and J. Eric Nielsen

Abstract

Past and future climate simulations from the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOS CCM), with specified boundary conditions for sea surface temperature, sea ice, and trace gas emissions, have been analyzed to assess trends and possible causes of changes in stratospheric water vapor. The simulated distribution of stratospheric water vapor in the 1990s compares well with observations. Changes in the cold point temperatures near the tropical tropopause can explain differences in entry stratospheric water vapor. The average saturation mixing ratio of a 20° latitude by 15° longitude region surrounding the minimum tropical saturation mixing ratio is shown to be a useful diagnostic for entry stratospheric water vapor and does an excellent job reconstructing the annual average entry stratospheric water vapor over the period 1950–2100. The simulated stratospheric water vapor increases over the 50 yr between 1950 and 2000, primarily because of changes in methane concentrations, offset by a slight decrease in tropical cold point temperatures. Stratospheric water vapor is predicted to continue to increase over the twenty-first century, with increasing methane concentrations causing the majority of the trend to midcentury. Small increases in cold point temperature cause increases in the entry water vapor throughout the twenty-first century. The increasing trend in future water vapor is tempered by a decreasing contribution of methane oxidation owing to cooling stratospheric temperatures and by increased tropical upwelling, leading to a near-zero trend for the last 30 yr of the twenty-first century.

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Richard S. Stolarski, Anne R. Douglass, Paul A. Newman, Steven Pawson, and Mark R. Schoeberl

Abstract

The temperature of the stratosphere has decreased over the past several decades. Two causes contribute to that decrease: well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs) and ozone-depleting substances (ODSs). This paper addresses the attribution of temperature decreases to these two causes and the implications of that attribution for the future evolution of stratospheric temperature. Time series analysis is applied to simulations of the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry–Climate Model (GEOS CCM) to separate the contributions of GHGs from those of ODSs based on their different time-dependent signatures. The analysis indicates that about 60%–70% of the temperature decrease of the past two decades in the upper stratosphere near 1 hPa and in the lower midlatitude stratosphere near 50 hPa resulted from changes attributable to ODSs, primarily through their impact on ozone. As ozone recovers over the next several decades, the temperature should continue to decrease in the middle and upper stratosphere because of GHG increases. The time series of observed temperature in the upper stratosphere is approaching the length needed to separate the effects of ozone-depleting substances from those of greenhouse gases using temperature time series data.

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