Articles | Volume 18, issue 4
Research article
28 Feb 2018
Research article |  | 28 Feb 2018

Chemical and climatic drivers of radiative forcing due to changes in stratospheric and tropospheric ozone over the 21st century

Antara Banerjee, Amanda C. Maycock, and John A. Pyle

Abstract. The ozone radiative forcings (RFs) resulting from projected changes in climate, ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), non-methane ozone precursor emissions and methane between the years 2000 and 2100 are calculated using simulations from the UM-UKCA chemistry–climate model (UK Met Office's Unified Model containing the United Kingdom Chemistry and Aerosols sub-model). Projected measures to improve air-quality through reductions in non-methane tropospheric ozone precursor emissions present a co-benefit for climate, with a net global mean ozone RF of −0.09 W m−2. This is opposed by a positive ozone RF of 0.05 W m−2 due to future decreases in ODSs, which is driven by an increase in tropospheric ozone through stratosphere-to-troposphere transport of air containing higher ozone amounts. An increase in methane abundance by more than a factor of 2 (as projected by the RCP8.5 scenario) is found to drive an ozone RF of 0.18 W m−2, which would greatly outweigh the climate benefits of non-methane tropospheric ozone precursor reductions. A small fraction (∼ 15 %) of the ozone RF due to the projected increase in methane results from increases in stratospheric ozone. The sign of the ozone RF due to future changes in climate (including the radiative effects of greenhouse gases, sea surface temperatures and sea ice changes) is shown to be dependent on the greenhouse gas emissions pathway, with a positive RF (0.05 W m−2) for RCP4.5 and a negative RF (−0.07 W m−2) for the RCP8.5 scenario. This dependence arises mainly from differences in the contribution to RF from stratospheric ozone changes. Considering the increases in tropopause height under climate change causes only small differences (≤ |0.02| W m−2) for the stratospheric, tropospheric and whole-atmosphere RFs.

Short summary
This study quantifies the radiative forcing (RF) of future ozone changes. Under climate change, even the sign of the ozone RF can change depending on the greenhouse gas emissions scenario followed. Stratosphere–troposphere exchange plays an important role in driving ozone RF due to reductions in ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and increases in methane abundance. These could negate the ozone-derived climate benefits of air-quality controls on non-methane ozone precursor emissions.
Final-revised paper