Correlations between tropopause height and total ozone: Implications for long-term changes


  • W. Steinbrecht,

  • H. Claude,

  • U. Köhler,

  • K. P. Hoinka


For the central European station of Hohenpeissenberg, averaging of ozone profiles grouped by tropopause height shows that the ozone mixing ratio profile in the lower stratosphere shifts up and down with the tropopause. The shift is largest near the tropopause and becomes negligible above 20 to 25 km. As a consequence a high tropopause is correlated with low total ozone and a low tropopause with high total ozone. Independent of season, total ozone decreases by 16 Dobson units (DU) per kilometer increase in tropopause height. At Hohenpeissenberg the tropopause has moved up by 150±70 m (2 σ) per decade over the last 30 years. If the −16 DU per kilometer correlation between total ozone and tropopause height is valid on the timescale of years, it is speculated that the observed increase in tropopause height could explain about 25% of the observed −10 DU per decade decrease of total ozone. This is of the same magnitude as the 30% fraction of midlatitude ozone depletion which current stratospheric models have difficulty accounting for. For Hohenpeissenberg the increase in tropopause height appears to be correlated with observed tropospheric warming: At 5 km altitude, for example, temperature has increased by 0.7±0.3 K per decade (2 σ) since 1967.