Articles | Volume 12, issue 14
Research article
25 Jul 2012
Research article |  | 25 Jul 2012

Diurnal variations of reactive chlorine and nitrogen oxides observed by MIPAS-B inside the January 2010 Arctic vortex

G. Wetzel, H. Oelhaf, O. Kirner, F. Friedl-Vallon, R. Ruhnke, A. Ebersoldt, A. Kleinert, G. Maucher, H. Nordmeyer, and J. Orphal

Abstract. The winter 2009/2010 was characterized by a strong Arctic vortex with extremely cold mid-winter temperatures in the lower stratosphere associated with an intense activation of reactive chlorine compounds (ClOx) from reservoir species. Stratospheric limb emission spectra were recorded during a flight of the balloon version of the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS-B) from Kiruna (Sweden) on 24 January 2010 inside the Arctic vortex. Several fast limb sequences of spectra (in time steps of about 10 min) were measured from nighttime photochemical equilibrium to local noon allowing the retrieval of chlorine- and nitrogen-containing species which change rapidly their concentration around the terminator between night and day. Mixing ratios of species like ClO, NO2, and N2O5 show significant changes around sunrise, which are temporally delayed due to polar stratospheric clouds reducing the direct radiative flux from the sun. ClO variations were derived for the first time from MIPAS-B spectra. Daytime ClO values of up to 1.6 ppbv are visible in a broad chlorine activated layer below 26 km correlated with low values (below 0.1 ppbv) of the chlorine reservoir species ClONO2. Observations are compared and discussed with calculations performed with the 3-dimensional Chemistry Climate Model EMAC (ECHAM5/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry). Mixing ratios of the species ClO, NO2, and N2O5 are well reproduced by the model during night and noon. However, the onset of ClO production and NO2 loss around the terminator in the model is not consistent with the measurements. The MIPAS-B observations along with Tropospheric Ultraviolet-Visible (TUV) radiation model calculations suggest that polar stratospheric clouds lead to a delayed start followed by a faster increase of the photodissoziation of ClOOCl and NO2 near the morning terminator since stratospheric clouds alter the direct and the diffuse flux of solar radiation. These effects are not considered in the EMAC model simulations which assume a cloudless atmosphere.

Final-revised paper