Tropopause-penetrating convection is a frequent seasonal feature of the Central United States climate. This convection presents the potential for consistent transport of water vapor into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) through the lofting of ice, which then sublimates. Water vapor enhancements associated with convective ice lofting have been observed in both in situ and satellite measurements. These water vapor enhancements can increase the probability of sulfate aerosol-catalyzed heterogeneous reactions that convert reservoir chlorine (HCl and ClONO2) to free radical chlorine (Cl and ClO) that leads to catalytic ozone loss. In addition to water vapor transport, lofted ice may also scavenge nitric acid and further impact the chlorine activation chemistry of the UTLS. We present a photochemical model that resolves the vertical chemical structure of the UTLS to explore the effect of water vapor enhancements and potential additional nitric acid removal. The model is used to define the response of stratospheric column ozone to the range of convective water vapor transported and the temperature variability of the lower stratosphere currently observed over the Central United States in conjunction with potential nitric acid removal and to scenarios of elevated sulfate aerosol surface area density representative of possible future volcanic eruptions or solar radiation management. We find that the effect of HNO3 removal is dependent on the magnitude of nitric acid removal and has the greatest potential to increase chlorine activation and ozone loss under UTLS conditions that weakly favor the chlorine activation heterogeneous reactions by reducing NOx sources.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science
- chlorine activation
- stratospheric chemistry
- tropopause penetrating convection