The impact of ozone depleting substances on the circulation, temperature, and salinity of the Southern Ocean: An attribution study with CESM1(WACCM)

Solomon, Abraham L.; Polvani, Lorenzo M.; Abernathey, Ryan Patrick; Smith, Karen L.

Observations show robust changes in the circulation, temperature, and salinity of the Southern Ocean in recent decades. To what extent these changes are related to the formation of the ozone hole in the late twentieth century is an open question. Using a comprehensive chemistry-climate Earth system model, we contrast model runs with varying and with fixed surface concentrations of ozone depleting substances (ODS) from 1955 to 2005. In our model, ODS cause the majority of the summertime changes in surface wind stress which, in turn, induce a clear poleward shift of the ocean's meridional overturning circulation. In addition, more than 30% of the model changes in the temperature and salinity of the Southern Ocean are caused by ODS. These findings offer unambiguous evidence that increased concentrations of ODS in the late twentieth century are likely to have been been an important driver of changes in the Southern Ocean.

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Also Published In

Geophysical Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Geophysical Union
Published Here
February 24, 2016