Variability and evolution of the midlatitude stratospheric aerosol budget from 22 years of ground-based lidar and satellite observations
Abstract. The article presents new high-quality continuous stratospheric aerosol observations spanning 1994–2015 at the French Observatoire de Haute-Provence (OHP, 44° N, 6° E) obtained by two independent, regularly maintained lidar systems operating within the Network for Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC). Lidar series are compared with global-coverage observations by Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE II), Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars (GOMOS), Optical Spectrograph and InfraRed Imaging System (OSIRIS), Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP), and Ozone Mapping Profiling Suite (OMPS) satellite instruments, altogether covering the time span of OHP lidar measurements.
Local OHP and zonal-mean satellite series of stratospheric aerosol optical depth are in excellent agreement, allowing for accurate characterization of stratospheric aerosol evolution and variability at northern midlatitudes during the last 2 decades. The combination of local and global observations is used for a careful separation between volcanically perturbed and quiescent periods. While the volcanic signatures dominate the stratospheric aerosol record, the background aerosol abundance is found to be modulated remotely by the poleward transport of convectively cleansed air from the deep tropics and aerosol-laden air from the Asian monsoon region. The annual cycle of background aerosol at midlatitudes, featuring a minimum during late spring and a maximum during late summer, correlates with that of water vapor from the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS).
Observations covering two volcanically quiescent periods over the last 2 decades provide an indication of a growth in the nonvolcanic component of stratospheric aerosol. A statistically significant factor of 2 increase in nonvolcanic aerosol since 1998, seasonally restricted to late summer and fall, is associated with the influence of the Asian monsoon and growing pollution therein.