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  • 2017iglesiasphd

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Stratospheric ozone in the Earth system

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2017
Number of pages202
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Ozone in the stratosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing much of the ultraviolet solar radiation, as well as being a major source of ozone to the troposphere. A number of factors can influence stratospheric ozone levels and explain past, present and future changes. While there is a large literature exploring changes in stratospheric ozone due to, for example, ozone depleting substances (ODSs) and climate change, the study of its interactions with the rest of the Earth system is relatively recent. The work presented in this thesis investigates changes in stratospheric ozone and its links with other elements of the Earth system (tropospheric chemical composition and climate), using observations, a global chemistry-climate model (CESM1-WACCM), and existing multi-model output.

This work evaluates past changes and explores future evolution of stratospheric ozone and associated climate impacts using multi-model output (ACCMIP simulations) from the pre-industrial period to the end of the 21st century. ACCMIP multi-model mean total column ozone trends compare favourably against observations. These models show a strong link between the Antarctic ozone hole and surface climate, which demonstrates that stratospheric ozone changes are coupled with the troposphere.

A series of sensitivity simulations is conducted to investigate multi-decadal variability. A striking finding is that low frequency variability of ozone in the tropical middle stratosphere resembles multi-decadal climate variability in Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures. This analysis also shows that internally generated climate variability is the leading factor explaining recent negative trends of mid-stratospheric tropical ozone.

Finally, an additional set of sensitivity simulations is performed to quantify future radiative forcing between 2000s and 2100s that results from changes in ozone due to climate change, ODSs and methane concentrations. These results highlight the importance of stratosphere-troposphere exchange, as well as the key role of the stratosphere controlling the tropospheric ozone forcing.