The effect of stratospheric ozone depletion on the phase of the Antarctic Oscillation


  • D. M. H. Sexton


The effect of stratospheric ozone loss on Southern Hemispheric extratropical circulation is explored using an atmosphere-only model. The main tropospheric response is a sudden shift in the leading mode of month-to-month variability, the Antarctic Oscillation, during November and December towards its high phase. Therefore, this change consists of a shift in atmospheric mass from high-latitudes poleward of 60°S to a mid-latitude band centred on 45°S. This response provides a plausible explanation for the increase in westerly circulation at 60°S observed since the early 1980's. There is also a strong response in January–March but this may be unrealistic as the observed lower stratospheric temperature changes are poorly simulated in that season.