Articles | Volume 15, issue 6
Research article
24 Mar 2015
Research article |  | 24 Mar 2015

Energetic particle induced intra-seasonal variability of ozone inside the Antarctic polar vortex observed in satellite data

T. Fytterer, M. G. Mlynczak, H. Nieder, K. Pérot, M. Sinnhuber, G. Stiller, and J. Urban

Abstract. Measurements from 2002 to 2011 by three independent satellite instruments, namely MIPAS, SABER, and SMR on board the ENVISAT, TIMED, and Odin satellites are used to investigate the intra-seasonal variability of stratospheric and mesospheric O3 volume mixing ratio (vmr) inside the Antarctic polar vortex due to solar and geomagnetic activity. In this study, we individually analysed the relative O3 vmr variations between maximum and minimum conditions of a number of solar and geomagnetic indices (F10.7 cm solar radio flux, Ap index, ≥ 2 MeV electron flux). The indices are 26-day averages centred at 1 April, 1 May, and 1 June while O3 is based on 26-day running means from 1 April to 1 November at altitudes from 20 to 70 km. During solar quiet time from 2005 to 2010, the composite of all three instruments reveals an apparent negative O3 signal associated to the geomagnetic activity (Ap index) around 1 April, on average reaching amplitudes between −5 and −10% of the respective O3 background. The O3 response exceeds the significance level of 95% and propagates downwards throughout the polar winter from the stratopause down to ~ 25 km. These observed results are in good qualitative agreement with the O3 vmr pattern simulated with a three-dimensional chemistry-transport model, which includes particle impact ionisation.

Short summary
Energetic particles from the sun produce NOx (=N+NO+NO2) in the mesosphere/lower thermosphere. The NOx can be transported downward in the stratosphere during polar winter where NOx eventually depletes O3. This entire chain is the so-called energetic particle precipitation (EPP) indirect effect. Here we show downward propagating negative stratospheric O3 anomalies during Antarctic polar winter. The O3 anomalies are caused by geomagnetic activity and show strong hints of the EPP indirect effect.
Final-revised paper