Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Variability of extratropical ozone stratosphere–troposphere exchange using microwave limb sounder observations



[1] The extratropical stratosphere–troposphere exchange (STE) of ozone from 2005 to 2010 is estimated by combining Microwave Limb Sounder ozone observations and MERRA reanalysis meteorological fields in an established direct diagnostic framework. The multiyear mean ozone STE is 275 Tg yr−1 and 214 Tg yr−1 in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively. The year-to-year variability is greater in the Northern Hemisphere, where the difference between the highest and the lowest annual flux is 15% of the multiyear mean compared with 6% in the Southern Hemisphere. Variability of lower stratospheric ozone and variability of the net mass flux both contribute to interannual variability in the Northern Hemisphere ozone flux. The flux across the extratropical 380 K surface determines the amount of flux across the extratropical tropopause, and the greatest seasonal variability of the 380 K ozone flux occurs in the late winter/early spring, around the time of greatest flux. Both the mass flux and the ozone mixing ratios on the 380 K surface show recurring spatial patterns, but interannual variability of these quantities and their alignment contribute to the ozone flux variability. The spatial and temporal variability are not well represented when zonal and/or monthly mean fields are used to calculate the ozone STE, although this results in a small high bias of the seasonal amplitude and annual magnitude. If the climatological variability over these 6 years is representative, the estimated number of years required to detect a 2 − 3% decade−1 trend in ozone STE using this diagnostic is 35 − 39 years.