Evaluation of the inter-annual variability of stratospheric chemical composition in chemistry-climate models using ground-based multi species time series
The variability of stratospheric chemical composition occurs on a broad spectrum of timescales, ranging from day to decades. A large part of the variability appears to be driven by external forcings such as volcanic aerosols, solar activity, halogen loading, levels of greenhouse gases (GHG), and modes of climate variability (quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)). We estimate the contributions of different external forcings to the interannual variability of stratospheric chemical composition and evaluate how well 3-D chemistry-climate models (CCMs) can reproduce the observed response-forcing relationships. We carry out multivariate regression analyses on long time series of observed and simulated time series of several traces gases in order to estimate the contributions of individual forcings and unforced variability to their internannual variability. The observations are typically decadal time series of ground-based data from the international Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC) and the CCM simulations are taken from the CCMVal-2 REF-B1 simulations database. The chemical species considered are column O3, HCl, NO2, and N2O. We check the consistency between observations and model simulations in terms of the forced and internal components of the total interannual variability (externally forced variability and internal variability) and identify the driving factors in the interannual variations of stratospheric chemical composition over NDACC measurement sites. Overall, there is a reasonably good agreement between regression results from models and observations regarding the externally forced interannual variability. A much larger fraction of the observed and modelled interannual variability is explained by external forcings in the tropics than in the extratropics, notably in polar regions. CCMs are able to reproduce the amplitudes of responses in chemical composition to specific external forcings. However, CCMs tend to underestimate very substantially the internal variability and hence the total interannual variability for almost all species considered. This lack of internal variability in CCMs might partly originate from the surface forcing of these CCMs by analysed SSTs. The results illustrate the potential of NDACC ground-based observations for evaluating CCMs.