Large-scale chemical depletion of ozone due to anthropogenic emissions occurs over Antarctica as well as, to a lesser degree, the Arctic. Surface climate predictability in the Northern Hemisphere might be improved due to a previously proposed, albeit uncertain, link to springtime ozone depletion in the Arctic. Here we use observations and targeted chemistry–climate experiments from two models to isolate the surface impacts of ozone depletion from complex downward dynamical influences. We find that springtime stratospheric ozone depletion is consistently followed by surface temperature and precipitation anomalies with signs consistent with a positive Arctic Oscillation, namely, warm and dry conditions over southern Europe and Eurasia and moistening over northern Europe. Notably, we show that these anomalies, affecting large portions of the Northern Hemisphere, are driven substantially by the loss of stratospheric ozone. This is due to ozone depletion leading to a reduction in short-wave radiation absorption, when in turn causing persistent negative temperature anomalies in the lower stratosphere and a delayed break-up of the polar vortex. These results indicate that the inclusion of interactive ozone chemistry in atmospheric models can considerably improve the predictability of Northern Hemisphere surface climate on seasonal timescales.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)