Atmospheric climate

Ozone-induced extremes

Geophys. Res. Lett. http://doi.org/ng3 (2013)

Southern Hemisphere storms and precipitation have shifted south in the past few decades as a result of ozone loss from the upper atmosphere. Model simulations suggest that Antarctic ozone loss has also led to an increase in the intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall events in some regions of the Southern Hemisphere.

Sarah Kang of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea, and colleagues assessed the effect of stratospheric ozone depletion on summer rainfall patterns in the Southern Hemisphere between the 1970s and the present day in two global climate models. They find that ozone loss may have increased the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events at high and subtropical latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. In contrast, ozone depletion seems to have reduced the frequency and intensity of such events at the mid-latitudes.

Although limitations in observational data preclude a robust test of the simulated rainfall trends, the model-derived shift in rainfall extremes is consistent with previously reported high-latitude and subtropical moistening and mid-latitude drying, also linked to ozone loss in the upper atmosphere.

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Armstrong, A. Ozone-induced extremes. Nature Geosci 6, 678 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1944

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