Low-ozone events in the southern polar summer as indicated by Met Office ozone analyses

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Abstract

[1] Southern summer low-ozone events (LOEs) are examined using Met Office ozone analyses for 2005–2007. At 31 hPa, tongues of low-ozone air are pulled out of the polar region and extend to lower latitudes. Low tongues are also seen at 100 hPa, but there the low ozone is transported from low to high latitudes. These low tongues are frequently superimposed on one another, meaning that there are often also reductions in total ozone. What is striking is that at high latitudes, summer total ozone is typically lower over the Weddell Sea than at other longitudes. The low-ozone tongues at 31 and 100 hPa are consistent with transport associated with planetary waves. Daily geopotential height fields show a poleward and westward wave tilt with height, indicating the presence of baroclinic waves. The tilt enables the superimposition of the low-ozone tongues at 100 and 31 hPa. Filtered geopotential height anomalies reveal the presence of waves reported in other studies and indicate the connection between tropospheric and stratospheric wave dynamics in driving the LOEs. There is also a high connection between the LOEs and ultraviolet (UV) Index. The Weddell Sea region gets up to 20–30% more UV than the zonal mean, and the tip of South America gets about 10–25% more. There have been numerous studies of the impacts of increased UV on the Antarctic marine ecosystem during the springtime ozone hole, and our results indicate there is a case for these studies being extended to the summer LOEs.

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