Articles | Volume 6, issue 7
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6, 1835–1841, 2006
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6, 1835–1841, 2006

  29 May 2006

29 May 2006

Large decadal scale changes of polar ozone suggest solar influence

B.-M. Sinnhuber1, P. von der Gathen2, M. Sinnhuber1, M. Rex2, G. König-Langlo3, and S. J. Oltmans4 B.-M. Sinnhuber et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4NOAA Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. Long-term measurements of polar ozone show an unexpectedly large decadal scale variability in the mid-stratosphere during winter. Negative ozone anomalies are strongly correlated with the flux of energetic electrons in the radiation belt, which is modulated by the 11-year solar cycle. The magnitude of the observed decadal ozone changes (≈20%) is much larger than any previously reported solar cycle effect in the atmosphere up to this altitude. The early-winter ozone anomalies subsequently propagate downward into the lower stratosphere and may even influence total ozone and meteorological conditions during spring. These findings suggest a previously unrecognized mechanism by which solar variability impacts on climate through changes in polar ozone.

Final-revised paper