New paper connects upper stratospheric ozone changes to the solar cycle

The authors write in this plain language summary:

Changes in the output of the Sun are thought to influence surface weather and climate through a set of processes initiated by the enhancement of upper stratosphere (32‐48 km) ozone. In order to understand and assess the solar impact on the climate system, it is important that models reproduce the observed solar signal. However, the recommended dataset for comparison with climate models remains disputed.

We use newly improved observed ozone composites to determine both why there is disagreement between composites, and which is most likely to be correct. We find that artefact‐corrected composites represent the response better than those based on SBUV data alone. Further, we identify a U‐shaped spatial structure with lobes emanating from the tropics to high altitudes at mid‐latitudes.

An idealised chemistry climate model experiment, and simulations considering historical meteorological conditions, both support this conclusion. The results are of benefit to satellite‐instrument scientists, and to those engaged in atmospheric and climate research using both observations and climate models.

The results will be important for assessing the solar signal in currently active and future assessments of chemistry climate models (e.g. CCMI). We recommend recommend the BASICv2 ozone composite to best represent historical upper stratospheric variability.

The paper:

The upper stratospheric solar cycle ozone response

W. T. Ball E. Rozanov  J. Alsing D. R. Marsh F. Tummon D. J. Mortlock D. E. Kinnison J. D. Haigh

First published: 31 January 2019, Geophysical Research Letters


The solar cycle (SC) stratospheric ozone response is thought to influence surface weather and climate. To understand the chain of processes and ensure climate models adequately represent them, it is important to detect and quantify an accurate SC ozone response from observations. Chemistry climate models (CCMs) and observations display a range of upper stratosphere (1–10 hPa) zonally averaged spatial responses; this and the recommended dataset for comparison remains disputed. Recent data‐merging advancements have led to more robust observational data. Using these data, we show that the observed SC signal exhibits an upper stratosphere U‐shaped spatial structure with lobes emanating from the tropics (5–10 hPa) to high altitudes at mid‐latitudes (1–3 hPa). We confirm this using two independent CCMs in specified dynamics mode and an idealised timeslice experiment. We recommend the BASICv2 ozone composite to best represent historical upper stratospheric solar variability, and that those based on SBUV alone should not be used.


39 thoughts on “New paper connects upper stratospheric ozone changes to the solar cycle

  1. That’s what I’m talkiing about!

    “John Tillman February 3, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    “TSI is less climatically significant than the variation in its UV component, which is about two orders of magnitude greater than in TSI, and qualitatively different from visible and IR spectra, thanks to its effect on ozone and its penetration of seawater, among other factors.”

    A sadly rare instance of actual climatological science being practiced amid the dreck of GIGO computer gamed “climate science”.

    • ‘The solar cycle (SC) stratospheric ozone response is thought to influence surface weather and climate.’
      Dr. Svalgaard will not like that one bit.
      He might be right though, ‘is thought’ is not same as ‘it does’ we need to see proof !

      • A proposed chemistry, electron transport mechanism and effect of ozone is contained in Prof Qing-Bin Lu’s book:

        “My work on atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change has been well documented in the following book published in 2015:

        QB Lu, A monograph “New Theories and Predictions of the Ozone Hole and Climate Change”, World Scientific Publishing Co (July, 2015), ISBN-10: 9814619442, 308 pages. .

        The above paper can be seen as adding to the material supporting Prof Lu’s hypothesis. In-lab atmospheric chemistry experiments replicated the proposed mechanism. His published papers describe the mechanism and show the satellite data sets used to demonstrate the predictions are correct. This paper updates and tends to confirm which data set(s) are most helpful for understanding the mechanisms.

        • Once again we need to look at the effect of volcanoes on stratsphere / ozone.

          It would helpful to have access to the paper to see what datasets they “prefer” ( ie best fit their hypothesis ). The trouble is the fullest data comes from the satellite period and those two stratospheric eruptions were quite close to two solar cycle peaks. There is a strong possibility of false attribution.

          At least if they are looking at ozone they may be one step close to realising the effect vulcanism has on the stratosphere …. and one day they may be get down working out they do not just have a short term cooling effect.

        • I said : “we need to see proof !”
          Science observes, in this case climate events and takes note of the parameters involved, compiles data, repeating on number of occasions and if recorded observations agree with the premise of the hypothesis it can be said that ‘we have seen the proof’; hypothesis is accepted as correct and even may qualify as a theory.
          I thought it was obvious what I meant, but if wasn’t now it should be clear.

    • TSI is less climatically significant than the variation in its UV component, which is about two orders of magnitude greater than in TSI

      The UV energy component is smaller than the combined energy from visible light and infrared wavelengths, therefore full TSI has a much greater ocean climatic significance than UV. High UV index over land is climatically significant, most effective at land warming under cloudless skies, a condition brought about often by low TSI low tropical evaporation. Solar minimum conditions lead to dry hot land temperatures for this very reason, while extended solar maximum high TSI eventually yields warm wet El Nino conditions released from higher solar energy accumulation.

  2. And if you don’t think the stratosphere plays a major part on air temperatures on the ground, just take a look at what the recent strat warm event did to temperatures in Chicago and Minneapolis. While the event was essentially transient, a lot of Telsas didn’t make it out of the garage for quite a few days.

    The real question is how all this couples into global ocean temperatures, since almost all the captured solar energy is in the oceans, and the keyword is ALL. Unfortunately we humans are short lived compared to seeing the results of the heating and cooling of the oceans. One low or high solar cycle can’t be seen in the temperature records, but put 6 in a row and we may start to see a change. But at 11 years per cycle we are nearing a human lifetime and in the meantime the chicken littles are modeling the noise with not that much success.

    • Yep, it was El Chichon and Mt Pinatubo that were the cause of the later 20th c. reduction in ozone. That Montreal protocol magically fixed by preventing any more volcanoes from erupting.

      The fire in Grenfeld Tower would not have a happened if we had not stupidly started using inflamable gases in place of CFCs.

      Many very useful chemical products have been banned on the basis of false attribution.

  3. From the article: “In order to understand and assess the solar impact on the climate system, it is important that models reproduce the observed solar signal.”

    Uhhhh . . . since when has the 97% consensus of AGW-confirmed climate scientists ever believed that?

  4. It
    The Times headline:
    ‘Crocodiles roam streets of Townsville, Queensland after ‘once in a century’ flood in Australia’
    Answer: “Drain the swamp” 🙂

  5. It completely amazes me that Scientists describe in detail how the Earth’s atmosphere makes the planet inhabitable by preventing Solar and Cosmic radiation for reaching the surface of the Earth and thus allowing them not to be killed etc. Yet other Climate “Scientists” claim that this radiation that is prevented from reaching the Earth. has no effect on the atmosphere, weather, temperature, Oceans, etc. — B/S. Grade school science teaches you that when an object stops or slows down another moving object ENERGY IS TRANSFERRED.
    Further, the Earth is not FLAT. it is a globe, ball, spherical. That energy is affecting all portions of the atmosphere that is not in the shadow of the Earth. Just as you can see the Sun long after the Sun physically should not be visible, the atmosphere is still intercepting Solar radiation and absorbing that energy. Cosmic energy is striking all surfaces of the atmosphere surrounding the Earth at all times.
    To claim that the sum of these energies is insignificant when performing a calculation 100 years in the future is ludicrous. Hint, You are put in a rocket for a trip that will take 100 years, with a limited amount of maneuvering fuel. If the initial trajectory is off by 0.01% or even 0.01 degrees, will you have enough fuel? How much fuel do you need?

  6. The highest ozone production is visible at the level of 5 to 10 hPa.
    At lower levels, ozone is pushed towards the polar circle.
    However, this does not indicate a temperature distribution in the stratosphere.
    The influence of solar wind on the stratosphere circulation over the polar circle, especially in winter, is difficult to grasp.

    • I have a 1988 V8 and a 2015 turbocharged V8.
      Both are more environmentally friendly than diesel versions and better for the planet than replacing them with electric versions that require charging from the grid and utilise rare earth materials with battery disposal issues.
      The greenies never get it right.

  7. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

    Who’d have thought that the only extra-planetary source of energy for Earth (perhaps that ought to be only source of energy for the solar system) might have an impact on climate.

    Were we able to turn Old Sol off for 24 hours, I wonder what Earth would look like….

    Rather than pooh-pooh the blindingly obvious, perhaps all those clever scientists out there should focus a bit more on working out how the Sun interacts with and changes planetary atmospheres and temperatures over time.

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