30 Mar 2023
 | 30 Mar 2023

Stratospherically induced tropospheric circulation changes under the extreme conditions of the No-Montreal-Protocol scenario

Franziska Zilker, Timofei Sukhodolov, Gabriel Chiodo, Marina Friedel, Tatiana Egorova, Eugene Rozanov, Jan Sedlacek, Svenja Seeber, and Thomas Peter

Abstract. The Montreal Protocol and its amendments (MPA) have been a huge success in preserving the stratospheric ozone layer from being destroyed by unabated chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) emissions. The phase out of CFCs has not only prevented serious impacts on our health and climate, but also avoided strong alterations of atmospheric circulation patterns. With the Earth System Model SOCOLv4, we study the dynamical and climatic impacts of a scenario with unabated CFC emissions by 2100, disentangling radiative and chemical (ozone-mediated) effects of CFCs. In the stratosphere, chemical effects of CFCs (i.e. the resulting ozone loss) are the main drivers of circulation changes, weakening wintertime polar vortices and speeding up the Brewer-Dobson circulation. These dynamical impacts during wintertime are due to low-latitude ozone depletion and resulting reduction of the equator-to-pole temperature gradient. In Southern Hemisphere (SH) summer, the vortex strengthens, similar due to the effects of the Antarctic ozone hole over the second half of the 20th century. Furthermore, the winter and spring vortex variability increases in the SH, whereas it decreases in summer and fall. This seasonal variation of wind speed in the stratosphere has regional implications on the tropospheric circulation modes. We find coherent changes in the troposphere, such as negative Southern Annular mode (SAM) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) during seasons with a weaker vortex (winter and spring); the opposite occurs during seasons with stronger westerlies in the stratosphere (summer). In the troposphere, radiative heating by CFCs prevails throughout the year, shifting the SAM into a positive phase and canceling out the ozone-induced effects on the NAO. Furthermore, global warming is amplified by 1.9 K with regionally up to 12 K increase over Eastern Canada and Western Arctic. Our study sheds light into the adverse effects of a non-adherence to the MPA on the global atmospheric circulation, uncovering the roles of the underlying physical mechanisms. In so doing, our study emphasizes the importance of the MPA for Earth’s climate, to avoid regional amplifications of negative climate impacts.

Franziska Zilker 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 egusphere-2023-326', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Apr 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-326', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Apr 2023

Franziska Zilker et al.

Franziska Zilker et al.


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Short summary
The Montreal Protocol (MP) has successfully reduced the Antarctic ozone hole by banning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that destroy the ozone layer. Moreover, CFCs are strong greenhouse gases (GHGs) that would have strengthened global warming. In this study, we investigate the surface weather and climate in a world without the MP at the end of the 21st century disentangling ozone-mediated and GHG impacts of CFCs. Overall, we avoided 1.9 K global surface warming and a poleward shift of storm tracks.