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Title: The downward influence of ozone depletion in the Arctic lower stratosphere
Author: Rae, Cameron Davies
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 665X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Severe ozone depletion in the polar lower stratosphere has been linked to significant changes in tropospheric circulation patterns in the both hemispheres. Observed Southern Hemisphere circulation changes are easily reproduced in climate models and may be achieved by either increasing ozone depleting substances in a chemistry-climate model(CCM) or by imposing observed ozone losses as a zonally-symmetric perturbation in a prescribed-ozone global circulation model (GCM). In the Northern Hemisphere however, only the CCM method produces a circulation response in agreement with analysis of observations, while the GCM method is unable to produce any significant tropospheric circulation changes from imposing observed zonal-mean Arctic ozone losses. Confidence in a mechanistic link between Arctic stratospheric ozone change and changes in tropospheric circulation is greatly increased if the change can be reproduced using a GCM in addition to being reproducible in a CCM. This thesis demonstrates that by allowing ozone to vary along longitude, and by imposing ozone depletion during a realistic timeframe, the GCM method can produce circulation changes compatible with both the CCM method and observations. An equivalent-latitude coordinate allows the prescribed ozone field, and imposed ozone losses, to follow the polar vortex as it is systematically disturbed or displaced off the pole throughout the winter, producing a realistic circulation response in the troposphere in contrast to when ozone and its imposed losses are zonally-symmetric. Timing the imposed ozone depletion with the breakup of the polar vortex reveals that the appearance of the circulation response is very sensitive to the relative timing of these events and to the pre-existing dynamical state of the polar vortex. These results demonstrate that prescribing ozone as a zonally symmetric climatology within a GCM, as has been recent practice in the literature, is only representative of the Southern Hemisphere and is inappropriate for accurately representing processes within the Arctic stratosphere. Moreover this work demonstrates that these dynamically-evolving zonal asymmetries in ozone, which are not present in zonally-symmetric ozone schemes, play a crucial role in allowing perturbations in the Arctic stratosphere to influence the troposphere and surface conditions.
Supervisor: Pyle, John Sponsor: ERC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Atmospheric Dynamics ; Stratosphere-Troposphere Coupling ; Stratospheric Ozone