06 Aug 2021

06 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

From the middle stratosphere to the surface, using nitrous oxide to constrain the stratosphere-troposphere exchange of ozone

Daniel J. Ruiz and Michael J. Prather Daniel J. Ruiz and Michael J. Prather
  • Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3100, USA

Abstract. Stratosphere-troposphere exchange (STE) is an important source of tropospheric ozone, affecting all of atmospheric chemistry, climate, and air quality. Observations and the theory of tracer correlations provide only coarse (±20 %) global-mean constraints. For fluxes resolved by latitude and month we rely on global chemistry-transport models (CTMs), and unfortunately, these results diverge greatly. Overall, we lack guidance from model-measurement metrics that inform us about processes and patterns related to the STE flux of ozone. In this work, we use modeled tracers (N2O, CFCl3) whose distributions and budgets can be constrained by satellite and surface observations, allowing us to follow stratospheric signals across the tropopause. The satellite derived photochemical loss of N2O on annual and quasi-biennial cycles can be matched by the models. The STE flux of N2O-depleted air in our CTM drives surface variability that closely matches observed fluctuations on both annual and quasi-biennial cycles, confirming the modeled flux. The observed tracer correlations between N2O and O3 in the lowermost stratosphere provide a seasonal, hemispheric scaling of the N2O flux to that of O3. For N2O and CFCl3, we model greater southern hemispheric STE fluxes, a result supported by some metrics, but counter to prevailing theory of wave-driven stratospheric circulation. The STE flux of O3, however, is predominantly northern hemispheric, but observational constraints show that this is only caused by the Antarctic ozone hole. Here we show that metrics founded on observations can better constrain the STE O3 flux which will help guide future model assessments.

Daniel J. Ruiz and Michael J. Prather

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of Ruiz and Prather, submitted to Atmos Chem Phys', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-635', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Sep 2021

Daniel J. Ruiz and Michael J. Prather

Data sets

How atmospheric chemistry and transport drive surface variability of N2O and CFC-11 Daniel J. Ruiz

Daniel J. Ruiz and Michael J. Prather


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Short summary
The stratosphere is an important source of tropospheric ozone which affects climate, chemistry, and air quality, but is extremely difficult to quantify given the large production and loss terms in the troposphere. Here, we use other gases that are well observed and quantified as a reference to test our simulations of ozone transport in the atmosphere. This allows us to better constrain the stratospheric source of ozone and also offers guidance to improve future simulations of ozone transport.