Articles | Volume 14, issue 24
Research article
22 Dec 2014
Research article |  | 22 Dec 2014

The impact of polar stratospheric ozone loss on Southern Hemisphere stratospheric circulation and climate

J. Keeble, P. Braesicke, N. L. Abraham, H. K. Roscoe, and J. A. Pyle

Abstract. The impact of polar stratospheric ozone loss resulting from chlorine activation on polar stratospheric clouds is examined using a pair of model integrations run with the fully coupled chemistry climate model UM-UKCA. Suppressing chlorine activation through heterogeneous reactions is found to produce modelled ozone differences consistent with observed ozone differences between the present and pre-ozone hole period. Statistically significant high-latitude Southern Hemisphere (SH) ozone loss begins in August and peaks in October–November, with > 75% of ozone destroyed at 50 hPa. Associated with this ozone destruction is a > 12 K decrease of the lower polar stratospheric temperatures and an increase of > 6 K in the upper stratosphere. The heating components of this temperature change are diagnosed and it is found that the temperature dipole is the result of decreased short-wave heating in the lower stratosphere and increased dynamical heating in the upper stratosphere. The cooling of the polar lower stratosphere leads, through thermal wind balance, to an acceleration of the polar vortex and delays its breakdown by ~ 2 weeks. A link between lower stratospheric zonal wind speed, the vertical component of the Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux, Fz and the residual mean vertical circulation, w*, is identified. In November and December, increased westerly winds and a delay in the breakup of the polar vortex lead to increases in Fz, indicating increased wave activity entering the stratosphere and propagating to higher altitudes. The resulting increase in wave breaking, diagnosed by decreases to the EP flux divergence, drives enhanced downwelling over the polar cap. Many of the stratospheric signals modelled in this study propagate down to the troposphere, and lead to significant surface changes in December.

Final-revised paper