Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-514
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-514

  08 Jul 2021

08 Jul 2021

A simple model of ozone-temperature coupling in the tropical lower stratosphere

William J. Randel1,2, Fei Wu1, Alison Ming3, and Peter Hitchcock4 William J. Randel et al.
  • 1National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2COSMIC Program, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 4Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Abstract. Observations show strong correlations between large-scale ozone and temperature variations in the tropical lower stratosphere across a wide range of time scales. We quantify this behavior using monthly records of ozone and temperature data from SHADOZ tropical balloon measurements (1998–2016), along with global satellite data from Aura MLS and GPS radio occultation over 2004–2018. The observational data demonstrate strong in-phase ozone-temperature coherence spanning sub-seasonal, annual and interannual time scales, and the slope of the ozone-temperature relationship (O3/T) varies as a function of time scale and altitude. We compare the observations to idealized calculations based on the coupled zonal mean thermodynamic and ozone continuity equations, including ozone radiative feedbacks on temperature, where both temperature and ozone respond in a coupled manner to variations in the tropical upwelling Brewer-Dobson circulation. These calculations can approximately explain the observed (O3/T) amplitude and phase relationships, including sensitivity to time scale and altitude, and highlight distinct balances for ‘fast’ variations (periods < 150 days, controlled by transport across background vertical gradients) and ‘slow’ coupling (seasonal and interannual variations, controlled by radiative balances).

William J. Randel et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-514', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-514', Anonymous Referee #2, 03 Aug 2021

William J. Randel et al.

William J. Randel et al.

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Short summary
Balloon and satellite observations show strong coupling between large-scale ozone and temperature fields in the tropical lower stratosphere, spanning time scales of days to years. We present a simple interpretation of this behavior based on an idealized model of transport by the tropical stratospheric circulation, and good quantitative agreement with observations demonstrates this is a useful simplification. The results provide simple understanding of observed atmospheric behavior.
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