Solar Cycle Induced Variability in Middle Atmospheric HOx — Abundances and Partitioning

Friday, 19 December 2014
Shuhui Wang1, Luis F Millan Valle1, King-Fai Li2, Stanley P Sander1, Yuk L Yung3, Nathaniel J Livesey1, Michelle L Santee1 and Mao-Chang Liang4, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)Academia Sinica, Research Center for Environmental Changes, Taipei, Taiwan
Solar UV irradiance variability during the 11-year solar cycle has strong impacts on Earth’s atmospheric composition and climate. The odd hydrogen species HOx (primarily OH and HO2), which plays a key role in controlling middle atmospheric ozone, are expected to show distinct variability following the solar cycle. Previous investigations based on total OH abundances from long-term ground-based observation and 5.5 year Aura/Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) OH data and model calculations suggest that the HOx solar cycle variability may dominate the ozone solar cycle variability above 40 km.

In the present study, we expand the investigation to both HO2 and OH, as well as the partitioning between them, which is important in the catalytic HOx cycle. With the newly developed MLS offline HO2 product that has significantly improved data quality and better vertical and diurnal coverage, we examine the vertical and latitudinal distribution of the solar cycle signals in HO2 (~10 year data) and compare it with OH. Model simulations using the Caltech/JPL 1-D photochemical model are used to understand the detailed mechanisms controlling the variability in HOx abundances and partitioning. The results of using different solar spectral irradiance (SSI) variabilities in models and the comparison with observations will be discussed.

In addition, while the continuous MLS OH data record is only 5.5 year, the MLS THz sub-system was turned back on for a 30-day OH measurement in every August since 2011. Using the most recent version of MLS retrieval software (v4.1x, to be released), some first OH data for selected months will be presented, suggesting reliable quality of the “THz restart” observations and making it promising to combine such OH data with earlier OH data to build a longer-term record.