Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stratospheric ozone chemistry plays an important role for atmospheric airflow patterns

10.03.2008
Still too much uncertainty in today's climate models

Interactions between the stratospheric ozone chemistry and atmospheric air flow lead to significant changes of airflow patterns from the ground up to the stratosphere.

This is the result of climate simulations, which have just been published in the journal "Geophysical Research Letters" (Brand et al, Geophys. Res. Lett.). Scientists at the Research Unit Potsdam of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, which is a member of the Helmholtz Association, have investigated a fundamental process for climate interactions in the Arctic. So far it is not known what causes natural variations of atmospheric air flow patterns which have been playing an important role for climate changes in the last decades. This basic knowledge is necessary to improve climate models that still hold much uncertainty.

Atmospheric airflows follow preferred patterns. The most important pattern for the northern hemisphere is the Arctic Oscillation. It's a spacious oscillation of the atmosphere that is characterised by opposing anomalies in air pressure in the central Arctic region and in parts of the mid- and subtropical latitudes. This oscillation of the atmosphere lasts for decades and is more or less pronounced. In the positive phase, which has been predominant since 1970, the polar vortex during winter times is stable and the exchange of air masses between the mid- and higher latitudes is limited. In midlatitudes strong westerly winds bring warm air from the Atlantic Ocean to North and Central Europe and Siberia during the winter season. In the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation cold polar air can penetrate further south and leads to harsh winter seasons in Europe.

So far feedbacks between chemical processes in the stratosphere and the circulation in the troposphere and stratosphere (height between 0 and 10 kilometres or 10 and about 50 kilometres) are not included in complex global climate models linking atmosphere and ocean. For the first time, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have included a module of stratospheric ozone chemistry into a coupled global climate model. The scientists show that ozone chemistry significantly influences the Artic Oscillation by comparing simulations of the standard model with results from the model extended by the new ozone chemistry module. Changes of atmospheric air flows and temperature distribution lead to an increase of the negative phase of the Artic Oscillation during the winter seasons.

"Our research is an important contribution to reduce the uncertainty in the simulation of today's climate. Today's climate models carry, contrary to many claims, still a high level of uncertainty. Only by understanding the basic processes in the Arctic, can we quantify these deviations and eliminate them," said Sascha Brand of the Alfred Wegener Institute, main author of the published study. The results indicate that if interactions between atmospheric air flow and stratospheric ozone chemistry are being taken into account, they will also have an influence on the stability of the polar vortex in the simulation of future climate developments and should therefore be included in climate models. In a follow-up project, the new model will be used for the calculation of future climate developments.

The Alfred Wegener Institute performs research in the Arctic, in the Antarctic and in the oceans at mid- and high latitudes. It coordinates the polar research in Germany and provides important infrastructure like the research icebreaker "Polarstern" and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica for the use of the international scientific community. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one among the fifteen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the biggest scientific organisation in Germany.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>