Weakening of springtime Arctic ozone depletion with climate change

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

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<p align=justify>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 found 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 (<span class="inline-formula">ClO<sub><i>x</i></sub></span>). 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 terms of 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.</p>
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