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Variability of Stratospheric Reactive Nitrogen and Ozone Related to the QBO

Park, M., W. Randel, D. Kinnison, A. Bourassa, D. A. Degenstein, C. Z. Roth, C. A. McLinden, C. E. Sioris, N. Livesey, and M. Santee (2017), Variability of Stratospheric Reactive Nitrogen and Ozone Related to the QBO, J. Geophys. Res., 122, doi:10.1002/2017JD027061.

The stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) dominates interannual variability of dynamical variables and trace constituents in the tropical stratosphere and provides a natural experiment to test circulation-chemistry interactions. This work quantifies the relationships among ozone (O3), reactive nitrogen (NOy), and source gas N2O, and their links to the QBO, based on satellite constituent measurements and meteorological data spanning 2005–2014 (over four QBO cycles). Data include O3, HNO3, and N2O from the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder and an NOx proxy derived from Optical Spectrograph and Infrared Imager System NO2 measurements combined with a photochemical box model (= NOx*). Results are compared to simulations from the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model, version 4 incorporating a QBO circulation nudged to assimilated winds. Cross correlations and composites with respect to the QBO phase show coherent 180° out-of-phase relationships between NOy and N2O throughout the stratosphere, with the NOx/HNO3 ratio increasing with altitude. The anomalies in NOy species propagate coherently downward with the QBO. Ozone is anticorrelated with reactive nitrogen in the middle stratosphere above ~28 km due to NOx control of ozone catalytic loss cycles. Quantitative comparisons of nitrogen partitioning and O3 sensitivity to NOx show good overall agreement between satellite observations and model results (suggesting closure of the NOy budget), although the model results show larger (up to ~20%) N2O, NOx, and O3 variations near ~35 km compared to observations. These analyses serve to assess the consistency of diverse satellite-based data sets and also to evaluate nitrogen partitioning and NOx-dependent ozone chemistry in the global model.

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