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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 9 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 6121-6139, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-6121-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 May 2018

Research article | 03 May 2018

Key drivers of ozone change and its radiative forcing over the 21st century

Fernando Iglesias-Suarez1,2,a, Douglas E. Kinnison3, Alexandru Rap4, Amanda C. Maycock4, Oliver Wild1,2, and Paul J. Young1,2,5 Fernando Iglesias-Suarez et al.
  • 1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • 2Data Science Institute, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • 3Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 5Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • anow at: Department of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Group, Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano, CSIC, Madrid, Spain

Abstract. Over the 21st century changes in both tropospheric and stratospheric ozone are likely to have important consequences for the Earth's radiative balance. In this study, we investigate the radiative forcing from future ozone changes using the Community Earth System Model (CESM1), with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM), and including fully coupled radiation and chemistry schemes. Using year 2100 conditions from the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario, we quantify the individual contributions to ozone radiative forcing of (1) climate change, (2) reduced concentrations of ozone depleting substances (ODSs), and (3) methane increases. We calculate future ozone radiative forcings and their standard error (SE; associated with inter-annual variability of ozone) relative to year 2000 of (1) 33±104mWm−2, (2) 163±109mWm−2, and (3) 238±113mWm−2 due to climate change, ODSs, and methane, respectively. Our best estimate of net ozone forcing in this set of simulations is 430±130mWm−2 relative to year 2000 and 760±230mWm−2 relative to year 1750, with the 95% confidence interval given by ±30%. We find that the overall long-term tropospheric ozone forcing from methane chemistry–climate feedbacks related to OH and methane lifetime is relatively small (46mWm−2). Ozone radiative forcing associated with climate change and stratospheric ozone recovery are robust with regard to background climate conditions, even though the ozone response is sensitive to both changes in atmospheric composition and climate. Changes in stratospheric-produced ozone account for  ∼ 50% of the overall radiative forcing for the 2000–2100 period in this set of simulations, highlighting the key role of the stratosphere in determining future ozone radiative forcing.

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This study explores future ozone radiative forcing (RF) and the relative contribution due to different drivers. Climate-induced ozone RF is largely the result of the interplay between lightning-produced ozone and enhanced ozone destruction in a warmer and wetter atmosphere. These results demonstrate the importance of stratospheric–tropospheric interactions and the stratosphere as a key region controlling a large fraction of the tropospheric ozone RF.
This study explores future ozone radiative forcing (RF) and the relative contribution due to...
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