Microphysical Simulations of Polar Stratospheric Clouds Compared with Calipso and MLS Observations

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 10:50 AM
Yunqian Zhu, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, Owen B Toon, Univ Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, Douglas Edward Kinnison, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, Alyn Lambert, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States and Matthias Brakebusch, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) form in the lower stratosphere during the polar night due to the cold temperature inside the polar vortex. PSCs are important to understand because they are responsible for the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole and the ozone depletion over the Arctic. In this work, we explore the formation and evolution of STS particles (Super-cooled Ternary Solution) and NAT (Nitric-acid Trihydrate) particles using the SD-WACCM/CARMA model. SD-WACCM/CARMA couples the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model using Specific Dynamics with the microphysics model (CARMA). The 2010-2011 Arctic winter has been simulated because the Arctic vortex remained cold enough for PSCs from December until the end of March (Manney et al., 2011). The unusual length of this cold period and the presence of PSCs caused strong ozone depletion. This model simulates the growth and evaporation of the STS particles instead of considering them as being in equilibrium as other models do (Carslaw et al., 1995). This work also explores the homogeneous nucleation of NAT particles and derives a scheme for NAT formation based on the observed denitrification during the winter 2010-2011. The simulated microphysical features (particle volumes, size distributions, etc.) of both STS (Supercooled Ternary Solutions) and NAT particles show a consistent comparison with historical observations. The modeled evolution of PSCs and gas phase ozone related chemicals inside the vortex such as HCl and ClONO2 are compared with the observations from MLS, MIPAS and CALIPSO over this winter. The denitrification history indicate the surface nucleation rate from Tabazadeh et al. (2002) removes too much HNO3 over the winter. With a small modification of the free energy term of the equation, the denitification and the PSC backscattering features are much closer to the observations. H2O, HCl, O3 and ClONO2 are very close to MLS and MIPAS observations inside the vortex. The model underestimates ozone depletion for this winter by about 15%.