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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Buffering of stratospheric circulation by changing amounts of tropical ozone a Pinatubo Case Study

  • Author(s): Kinne, S.
  • Toon, O. B
  • Prather, M. J
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Stratospheric aerosol from Mount Pinatubo heated the tropical lower stratosphere by about 0.3 K/day mainly due to absorption of terrestrial infrared radiation. This heating was dissipated by (1) an observed increase in stratospheric temperatures, which enhanced the radiative cooling, (2) additional mean upward motion, observed for the aerosol cloud, which led to adiabatic cooling and (3) reductions in ozone concentrations resulting from enhanced upward motions. Each of these processes operated on a different time scale: maximum temperatures were observed after about 90 days; maximum ozone losses of about −1.5 ppm occurred after 140 days when the enhanced vertical velocities effectively lifted the ozone profile by about 2 km. We believe this shows that ozone plays an important role in buffering vertical motion in the tropical lower stratosphere, and hence the residual Brewer Dobson circulation of the whole stratosphere.

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