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Keywords:

  • Arctic sea ice loss;
  • stratospheric polar ozone;
  • future projections

[1] We investigate the sensitivity of Northern Hemisphere polar ozone recovery to a scenario in which there is rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice in the first half of the 21st century. The issue is addressed by coupling a chemistry climate model to an ocean general circulation model and performing simulations of ozone recovery with, and without, an external perturbation designed to cause a rapid and complete loss of summertime Arctic sea ice. Under this extreme perturbation, the stratospheric response takes the form of a springtime polar cooling which is dynamical rather than radiative in origin, and is caused by reduced wave forcing from the troposphere. The response lags the onset of the sea-ice perturbation by about one decade and lasts for more than two decades, and is associated with an enhanced weakening of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The stratospheric dynamical response leads to a 10 DU reduction in polar column ozone, which is statistically robust. While this represents a modest loss, it has the potential to induce a delay of roughly one decade in Arctic ozone recovery estimates made in the 2006 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.