21 Apr 2023
 | 21 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Weakening of springtime Arctic ozone depletion with climate change

Marina Friedel, Gabriel Chiodo, Timofei Sukhodolov, James Keeble, Thomas Peter, Svenja Seeber, Andrea Stenke, Hideharu Akiyoshi, Eugene Rozanov, David Plummer, Patrick Jöckel, Guang Zeng, Olaf Morgenstern, and Béatrice Josse

Abstract. In the Arctic stratosphere, the combination of chemical ozone depletion by halogenated ozone-depleting substances (hODSs) and dynamic fluctuations can lead to severe ozone minima. These Arctic ozone minima are of great societal concern due to their health and climate impacts. Owing to the success of the Montreal Protocol, hODSs in the stratosphere are gradually declining, resulting in a recovery of the ozone layer. On the other hand, continued greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cool the stratosphere, possibly enhancing the formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) and, thus, enabling more efficient chemical ozone destruction. Other processes, such as the acceleration of the Brewer-Dobson circulation, also affect stratospheric temperatures, further complicating the picture. Therefore, it is currently unclear whether major Arctic ozone minima will still occur at the end of the 21st century despite decreasing hODSs. We have examined this question for different emission pathways using simulations conducted within the Chemistry-Climate Model Initiative (CCMI-1 and CCMI-2022) and find large differences in the models' ability to simulate the magnitude of ozone minima in the present-day climate. Models with a generally too cold polar stratosphere ("cold bias") produce pronounced ozone minima under present-day climate conditions, because they simulate more PSCs and, thus, high concentrations of active chlorine species (ClOx). These models predict the largest decrease in ozone minima in the future. Conversely, models with a warm polar stratosphere ("warm bias") have the smallest sensitivity of ozone minima to future changes in hODS and GHG concentrations. As a result, the scatter among models in the magnitude of Arctic spring ozone minima will decrease in the future. Overall, these results suggest that Arctic ozone minima will become weaker over the next decades, largely due to the decline in hODS abundances. We note that none of the models analysed here project a notable increase of ozone minima in the future. Stratospheric cooling caused by increasing GHG concentrations is expected to play a secondary role, as its effect in the Arctic stratosphere is weakened by opposing radiative and dynamical mechanisms.

Marina Friedel et al.

Status: open (until 16 Jun 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Marina Friedel et al.

Marina Friedel et al.


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Short summary
Previously, it has been suggested whether springtime Arctic ozone depletion might worsen in the coming decades due to climate change, which might counteract the effect of reduced ozone depleting substances. Here, we show with different chemistry-climate models that springtime Arctic ozone depletion will likely decrease in the future. Further, we explain why models show a large spread in the projected development of Arctic ozone depletion and use the model spread to constrain future projections.