Using transport diagnostics to understand chemistry climate model ozone...

Strahan, S., A. Douglass, R. Stolarski, H. Akiyoshi, S. Bekki, P. Braesicke, N. Butchart, M. Chipperfield, D. Cugnet, S. Dhomse, S. M. Frith, A. Gettelman, S. C. Hardiman, D. Kinnison, J. ‐f. Lamarque, E. Mancini, M. Marchand, M. Michou, O. Morgenstern, T. Nakamura, D. Olivi, S. Pawson, G. Pitari, D. A. Plummer, J. A. Pyle, J. F. Scinocca, T. G. Shepherd, K. Shibata, D. Smale, H. Teyssèdre, W. Tian, and Y. Yamashita (2011), Using transport diagnostics to understand chemistry climate model ozone simulations, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D17302, doi:10.1029/2010JD015360.

We use observations of N2O and mean age to identify realistic transport in models in order to explain their ozone predictions. The results are applied to 15 chemistry climate models (CCMs) participating in the 2010 World Meteorological Organization ozone assessment. Comparison of the observed and simulated N2O, mean age and their compact correlation identifies models with fast or slow circulations and reveals details of model ascent and tropical isolation. This process‐oriented diagnostic is more useful than mean age alone because it identifies models with compensating transport deficiencies that produce fortuitous agreement with mean age. The diagnosed model transport behavior is related to a model’s ability to produce realistic lower stratosphere (LS) O3 profiles. Models with the greatest tropical transport problems compare poorly with O3 observations. Models with the most realistic LS transport agree more closely with LS observations and each other. We incorporate the results of the chemistry evaluations in the Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC) CCMVal Report to explain the range of CCM predictions for the return‐to‐1980 dates for global (60°S–60°N) and Antarctic column ozone. Antarctic O3 return dates are generally correlated with vortex Cly levels, and vortex Cly is generally correlated with the model’s circulation, although model Cl chemistry and conservation problems also have a significant effect on return date. In both regions, models with good LS transport and chemistry produce a smaller range of predictions for the return‐to‐1980 ozone values. This study suggests that the current range of predicted return dates is unnecessarily broad due to identifiable model deficiencies.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)