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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-747
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-747
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  06 Aug 2020

06 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Potential of future stratospheric ozone loss in the mid-latitudes under climate change and sulfate geoengineering

Sabine Robrecht1, Bärbel Vogel1, Simone Tilmes2, and Rolf Müller1 Sabine Robrecht et al.
  • 1Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute for Energy and Climate research – Stratosphere (IEK-7), Germany
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Lab, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. The potential of heterogeneous chlorine activation in the mid-latitude lowermost stratosphere during summer is a matter of debate. The occurrence of heterogeneous chlorine activation through the presence of aerosol particles could cause ozone destruction. This chemical process requires low temperatures and is accelerated by an enhancement of the stratospheric water vapour and sulfate amount. In particular, the conditions present in the lowermost stratosphere during the North American Summer Monsoon season (NAM) are expected to be cold and moist enough for causing the occurrence of heterogeneous chlorine activation. Furthermore, the temperatures, the water vapour mixing ratio and the sulfate aerosol abundance are affected by future climate change and by the potential application of sulfate geoengineering. Hence, both future scenarios could promote this ozone destruction process.

We investigate the likelihood for the occurrence of heterogeneous chlorine activation and its impact on ozone in the lowermost stratospheric mixing layer between tropospheric and stratospheric air above central North America (30.6–49.6° N, 72.25–124.75° W) in summer for conditions today, at the mid and at the end of the 21st century. Therefore, the results of the Geoengineering Large Ensemble Simulations (GLENS) for the lowermost stratospheric mixing layer between tropospheric and stratospheric air are considered together with 10 day box-model simulations performed with the Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere (CLaMS). In GLENS two future scenarios are simulated: the RCP8.5 climate change scenario and a geoengineering scenario, where sulfur is additionally injected in the stratosphere to keep the global mean surface temperature from changing.

In the GLENS simulations, the mixing layer will warm and moisten in both future scenarios with a larger effect in the geoengineering scenario. The likelihood for chlorine activation to occur in the mixing layer is highest in the years 2040–2050 if geoengineering is applied, accounting for 3.3 %. In comparison, the likelihood for conditions today is 1.0 %. At the end of the 21st century, the likelihood of this ozone destruction process to occur decreases. We found that 0.1 % of the ozone mixing ratios in the mixing layer above central North America is destroyed for conditions today. A maximum ozone destruction of 0.3 % in the mixing layer occurs in the years 2040–2050 if geoengineering is applied. Comparing the southernmost latitude band (30–35° N) and the northernmost latitude band (44–49° N) of the considered region, we found a higher likelihood for the occurrence of heterogeneous chlorine activation in the southernmost latitude band, causing a higher impact on ozone as well. However, the ozone loss process is found to have a minor impact on the mid-latitude ozone column with not more than 0.1 DU today or in the future scenarios.

Sabine Robrecht et al.

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GLENS data S. Tilmes, J. H. Richter, M. Mills, B. Kravitz, and D. G. MacMartin https://doi.org/10.5065/D6JH3JXX

Sabine Robrecht et al.

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Short summary
Column ozone protects live on Earth from radiation damage. Stratospheric chlorine compounds cause immense ozone loss in polar winter. If similar ozone loss processes can occur in the lower stratosphere above North America today or in future is a matter of debate. We show, these ozone loss processes occur very unlikely today or in future independently if sulfate geoengineering is applied or not. Furthermore, less than 0.1 % of column ozone would be destroyed by this process in any future scenario.
Column ozone protects live on Earth from radiation damage. Stratospheric chlorine compounds...
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