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Stratospheric Temperature and Ozone Impacts of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai...

Fleming, E., P. Newman, Q. Liang, and L. Oman (2024), Stratospheric Temperature and Ozone Impacts of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Water Vapor Injection, J. Geophys. Res., 129, e2023JD039298, doi:10.1029/2023JD039298.

The January 2022 eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai underwater volcano injected a large amount of water vapor into the mid-stratosphere. This study uses model simulations to investigate the resulting stratospheric impacts out to 2031. Maximum radiatively-driven model temperature changes occur in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) subtropics in April–May 2022, with warming of ∼1 K in the lower stratosphere and cooling of 3 K in the mid-stratosphere. The radiative cooling combined with adiabatic cooling driven by the quasi-biennial oscillation meridional circulation explains the near-record cold anomaly observed in the SH subtropical mid-stratosphere. Projected ozone responses maximize in 2023–2024 as the water vapor plume is transported globally throughout the stratosphere and mesosphere. The excess H2O increases the OH radical, causing a negative global ozone response (2%–10%) in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere due to increased odd hydrogen-ozone loss, and a small positive ozone response (0.5%–1%) in the mid-stratosphere due to interference of the NOx catalytic loss cycle by the additional OH. In the lower stratosphere, the excess H2O is projected to increase polar stratospheric clouds and springtime halogen-ozone loss, enhancing the Antarctic ozone hole by 25–30 DU in 2023. Arctic impact is small, with maximum additional ozone loss of 4–5 DU projected in spring 2024. These responses diminish after 2024 to be quite small by 2031, as the excess H2O is removed from the stratosphere with a 2.5-year e-folding time. Given the year-to-year variability of the stratosphere, the magnitudes of these ozone responses may be below the threshold of detectability in observations.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)
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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program