Northern Hemisphere stratospheric ozone depletion caused by solar proton events: the role of the polar vortex
Ozonesonde data from four sites are analyzed in relation to 191 solar protons events (SPEs) from 1989-2016. Analysis shows ozone depletion (~10-35 km altitude) commencing following the SPEs. Seasonally-corrected ozone data demonstrate that depletions occur only in winter/early-spring above sites where the northern hemisphere polar vortex (PV) can be present. A rapid reduction in stratospheric ozone is observed with the maximum decrease occurring ~10-20 days after SPEs. Ozone levels remain depleted in excess of 30 days. No depletion is observed above sites completely outside the PV. No depletion is observed in relation to 191 random epochs at any site at any time of year. Results point to the role of indirect ozone destruction, most likely via the rapid descent of long-lived NOx species in the PV during the polar winter.
Authors: Denton, M.H., Kivi, R., Ulich, T., Clilverd, M.A., Rodger, C.J., von der Gathen, P.