Stratospheric ozone changes from tropical volcanoes: modelling and ice core restraints

Major tropical volcanic eruptions have emitted large quantities of stratospheric sulphate and are potential sources of stratospheric chlorine although this is less well constrained by observations. This study combines model and ice core analysis to investigate past changes in total column ozone. Historic eruptions are a good analogue for future eruptions as stratospheric chlorine levels have been decreasing since the year 2000. We perturb the pre-industrial atmosphere of a chemistry-climate model with high and low emissions of sulphate and chlorine. The sign of the resulting Antarctic ozone change is highly sensitive to the background stratospheric chlorine loading. In the first year, the response is dynamical, with ozone increases over Antarctica. In the high HCl (10 Tg emission) experiment, the injected chlorine is slowly transported to the polar regions with subsequent chemical ozone depletion. These model results are then compared to measurements of the stable nitrogen isotopic ratio, δ15N(NO−3), from a low snow accumulation Antarctic ice core from Dronning Maud Land (recovered in 2016-17). We expect ozone depletion to lead to increased surface ultraviolet (UV) radiation, enhanced air-snow nitrate photo-chemistry and enrichment in δ15N(NO−3) in the ice core. We focus on the possible ozone depletion event that followed the largest volcanic eruption in the past 1000 years, Samalas in 1257. The characteristic sulphate signal from this volcano is present in the ice-core but the variability in the δ15N(NO−3) dominates any signal arising from changes in UV from ozone depletion. Whether Samalas caused ozone depletion over Antarctica remains an open question.


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Authors: Ming, Alison ORCIDORCID record for Alison Ming, Winton, Holly, Keeble, James, Abraham, Nathan Luke, Dalvi, Mohit, Griffiths, Paul Thomas, Caillon, Nicolas, Jones, Anna ORCIDORCID record for Anna Jones, Mulvaney, Robert ORCIDORCID record for Robert Mulvaney, Frey, Markus Michael ORCIDORCID record for Markus Michael Frey, Yang, Xin ORCIDORCID record for Xin Yang

On this site: Anna Jones, Alison Ming, Markus Frey, Robert Mulvaney, Holly Winton, Xin Yang
9 January, 2020
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
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