Articles | Volume 11, issue 24
Research article
16 Dec 2011
Research article |  | 16 Dec 2011

Solar response in tropical stratospheric ozone: a 3-D chemical transport model study using ERA reanalyses

S. Dhomse, M. P. Chipperfield, W. Feng, and J. D. Haigh

Abstract. We have used an off-line 3-D chemical transport model (CTM) to investigate the 11-yr solar cycle response in tropical stratospheric ozone. The model is forced with European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) (re)analysis (ERA-40/operational and ERA-Interim) data for the 1979–2005 time period. We have compared the modelled solar response in ozone to observation-based data sets that are constructed using satellite instruments such as Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), Solar Backscatter UltraViolet instrument (SBUV), Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) and Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE). A significant difference is seen between simulated and observed ozone during the 1980s, which is probably due to inhomogeneities in the ERA-40 reanalyses. In general, the model with ERA-Interim dynamics shows better agreement with the observations from 1990 onwards than with ERA-40. Overall both standard model simulations are partially able to simulate a "double peak"-structured ozone solar response with a minimum around 30 km, and these are in better agreement with HALOE than SAGE-corrected SBUV (SBUV/SAGE) or SAGE-based data sets. In the tropical lower stratosphere (TLS), the modelled solar response with time-varying aerosols is amplified through aliasing with a volcanic signal, as the model overestimates ozone loss during high aerosol loading years. However, the modelled solar response with fixed dynamics and constant aerosols shows a positive signal which is in better agreement with SBUV/SAGE and SAGE-based data sets in the TLS. Our model simulations suggests that photochemistry contributes to the ozone solar response in this region. The largest model-observation differences occur in the upper stratosphere where SBUV/SAGE and SAGE-based data show a significant (up to 4%) solar response whereas the standard model and HALOE do not. This is partly due to a positive solar response in the ECMWF upper stratospheric temperatures which reduces the modelled ozone signal. The large positive upper stratospheric solar response seen in SBUV/SAGE and SAGE-based data can be reproduced in model runs with fixed dynamical fields (i.e. no inter-annual meteorological changes). As these runs effectively assume no long-term temperature changes (solar-induced or otherwise), it should provide an upper limit of the ozone solar response. Overall, full quantification of the solar response in stratospheric ozone is limited by differences in the observed data sets and by uncertainties in the solar response in stratospheric temperatures.

Final-revised paper