Seasonal and inter-annual changes in the computation of Aura MLS HCl depletion and PSC-induced areas in the Antarctic polar stratosphere: 2005-2010 climate-chemistry assessment: the role of clouds in the Antarctic middle atmosphere
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
An examination of the seasonal and spatial distribution of Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) inferred from standard temperature profiles in the lower-middle atmosphere above Antarctica, as derived from the Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) satellite observations and NCEP/NCAR assimilations, is provided. Chemical volume mixing ratio (VMR) observations of EOS Aura MLS v2.2 hydrogen chloride (HCl) were used to show the interannual variability of PSC formation with respect to stratospheric chlorine partitioning during five Southern Hemisphere Antarctic seasons from 2005 to 2009. A remarkable first set of results, obtained from an algorithm developed for modelling HCl depletion areas in the Antarctic polar vortex region, and based on satellite observations, is presented. In particular, the analysis of HCl concentration data obtained from 2006 indicated that the area processed for HCl was larger than the area of PSC during some periods of Antarctic winter, and that this result was robust with respect to the various PSC formation and HCl depletion thresholds utilized. The results suggest that an underestimation in chlorine activation area can occur when temperature thresholds for PSC formation thresholds are employed. The work presented here also evaluated chlorine activation via sulfate aerosol (SA) in the Southern Hemisphere 2006 stratosphere, based on satellite measurements of water vapor (H2O) and constant values of SA, by implementing the TACL formula of Drdla and Müller  in contrast to the TNAT formula of Hanson and Mauersberger . The results indicated that the former formula was not completely sufficient for accurately modeling areas of depleted HCl and chlorine deactivation for all pressure surfaces in the Antarctic stratosphere. Based on the results of this study, the role of SA in chlorine activation appears to be more important at lower altitudes than for areas higher in the stratosphere.