Hydrological controls on the tropospheric ozone greenhouse gas effect

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Kuai, L., K. Bowman, H. Worden, R. L. Herman, and S. Kulawik (2017), Hydrological controls on the tropospheric ozone greenhouse gas effect, Elem Sci Anth, 5, 10, doi:10.1525/elementa.208.

The influence of the hydrological cycle in the greenhouse gas (GHG) effect of tropospheric ozone (O3) is quantified in terms of the O3 longwave radiative effect (LWRE), which is defined as the net reduction of top-of-atmosphere flux due to total tropospheric O3 absorption. The O3 LWRE derived from the infrared spectral measurements by Aura’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) show that the spatiotemporal variation of LWRE is relevant to relative humidity, surface temperature, and tropospheric O3 column. The zonally averaged subtropical LWRE is ~0.2 W m–2 higher than the zonally averaged tropical LWRE, gener- ally due to lower water vapor concentrations and less cloud coverage at the downward branch of the Hadley cell in the subtropics. The largest values of O3 LWRE over the Middle East (>1 W/m2) are further due to large thermal contrasts and tropospheric ozone enhancements from atmospheric circulation and pollution. Conversely, the low O3 LWRE over the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (on average 0.4 W m–2) is due to strong water vapor absorption and cloudiness, both of which reduce the tropospheric O3 absorp- tion in the longwave radiation. These results show that changes in the hydrological cycle due to climate change could affect the magnitude and distribution of ozone radiative forcing.

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Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)