, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 51-77

Intercomparison of Stratospheric Chemistry Models under Polar Vortex Conditions

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Abstract

Several stratospheric chemistry modules from box, 2-D or 3-D models, have been intercompared. The intercomparison was focused on the ozone loss and associated reactive species under the conditions found in the cold, wintertime Arctic and Antarctic vortices. Comparisons of both gas phase and heterogeneous chemistry modules show excellent agreement between the models under constrained conditions for photolysis and the microphysics of polar stratospheric clouds. While the mean integral ozone loss ranges from 4–80% for different 30–50 days long air parcel trajectories, the mean scatter of model results around these values is only about ±1.5%. In a case study, where the models employed their standard photolysis and microphysical schemes, the variation around the mean percentage ozone loss increases to about ±7%. This increased scatter of model results is mainly due to the different treatment of the PSC microphysics and heterogeneous chemistry in the models, whereby the most unrealistic assumptions about PSC processes consequently lead to the least representative ozone chemistry. Furthermore, for this case study the model results for the ozone mixing ratios at different altitudes were compared with a measured ozone profile to investigate the extent to which models reproduce the stratospheric ozone losses. It was found that mainly in the height range of strong ozone depletion all models underestimate the ozone loss by about a factor of two. This finding corroborates earlier studies and implies a general deficiency in our understanding of the stratospheric ozone loss chemistry rather than a specific problem related to a particular model simulation.