Strong influence of lowermost stratospheric ozone on lower tropospheric background ozone changes over Europe



[1] Using ozone measurements from two sounding sites and two high-altitude stations in Central Europe, we show evidence for a dominant influence of changes in lowermost stratospheric ozone on the variability and overall upward trend of background ozone in the lower troposphere (3000–3500 m asl) during the 1992–2004 period. Numerical simulations with a stratospheric chemistry transport model suggest that changes in lower stratospheric ozone were driven by dynamics rather than by changes in stratospheric chlorine loading. In addition, Lagrangian model simulations indicate that changes in downward transport of ozone from the stratosphere into the troposphere were dominated by changes in lowermost stratospheric ozone concentrations rather than by variations of cross-tropopause air mass transport. This suggests that the positive ozone trends and concentration anomalies in the lower free troposphere over Europe during the 1990s were likely to a large extent due to enhanced stratospheric ozone contributions, particularly in winter–spring.