On the Cause of Recent Variations in Lower Stratospheric Ozone

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We use height-resolved and total column satellite observations and 3-D chemical transport model simulations to study stratospheric ozone variations during 1998–2017 as ozone-depleting substances decline. In 2017 extrapolar lower stratospheric ozone displayed a strong positive anomaly following much lower values in 2016. This points to large interannual variability rather than an ongoing downward trend, as reported recently by Ball et al. (2018, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-1379-2018). The observed ozone variations are well captured by the chemical transport model throughout the stratosphere and are largely driven by meteorology. Model sensitivity experiments show that the contribution of past trends in short-lived chlorine species to the ozone changes is small. Similarly, the potential impact of modest trends in natural brominated short-lived species is small. These results confirm the important role that atmospheric dynamics plays in controlling ozone in the extrapolar lower stratosphere on multiannual time scales and the continued importance of monitoring ozone profiles as the stratosphere changes.

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Chipperfield, M. P., Dhomse, S., Hossaini, R., Feng, W., Santee, M. L., Weber, M., … Coldewey-Egbers, M. (2018). On the Cause of Recent Variations in Lower Stratospheric Ozone. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(11), 5718–5726. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078071

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