Polar ozone response to energetic particle precipitation over decadal time scales: The role of medium-energy electrons
One of the key challenges in polar middle atmosphere research is to quantify the total forcing by energetic particle precipitation (EPP) and assess the related response over solar cycle time scales. This is especially true for electrons having energies between about 30 keV and 1 MeV, so-called medium-energy electrons (MEE), where there has been a persistent lack of adequate description of MEE ionization in chemistry-climate simulations. Here we use the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM) and include EPP forcing by solar proton events, auroral electron precipitation, and a recently developed model of MEE precipitation. We contrast our results from three ensemble simulations (147 years) in total with those from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) in order to investigate the importance of a more complete description of EPP to the middle atmospheric ozone, odd hydrogen, and odd nitrogen over decadal time scales. Our results indicate average EPP-induced polar ozone variability of 12–24% in the mesosphere, and 5–7% in the middle and upper stratosphere. This variability is in agreement with previously published observations. Analysis of the simulation results indicate the importance of inclusion of MEE in the total EPP forcing: In addition to the major impact on the mesosphere, MEE enhances the stratospheric ozone response by a factor of 2. In the Northern Hemisphere, where wintertime dynamical variability is larger than in the Southern Hemisphere, longer simulations are needed in order to reach more robust conclusions.
Authors: Andersson, M.E., Verronen, P.T., Marsh, D.R., Seppälä, A., Päivärinta, S.-M., Rodger, C.J., Clilverd, M.A., Kalakoski, N., van de Kamp, M.