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Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: The Main Driver of Twentieth-Century Atmospheric Circulation Changes in the Southern Hemisphere

Polvani, Lorenzo M.; Waugh, Darryn W.; Correa, Gustavo P.; Son, Seok-Woo

The importance of stratospheric ozone depletion on the atmospheric circulation of the troposphere is studied with an atmospheric general circulation model, the Community Atmospheric Model, version 3 (CAM3), for the second half of the twentieth century. In particular, the relative importance of ozone depletion is contrasted with that of increased greenhouse gases and accompanying sea surface temperature changes. By specifying ozone and greenhouse gas forcings independently, and performing long, time-slice integrations, it is shown that the impacts of ozone depletion are roughly 2–3 times larger than those associated with increased greenhouse gases, for the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric summer circulation. The formation of the ozone hole is shown to affect not only the polar tropopause and the latitudinal position of the midlatitude jet; it extends to the entire hemisphere, resulting in a broadening of the Hadley cell and a poleward extension of the subtropical dry zones. The CAM3 results are compared to and found to be in excellent agreement with those of the multimodel means of the recent Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) and Chemistry–Climate Model Validation (CCMVal2) simulations. This study, therefore, strongly suggests that most Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation changes, in austral summer over the second half of the twentieth century, have been caused by polar stratospheric ozone depletion.


Also Published In

Journal of Climate