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The sensitivity of tropospheric methane to the interannual variability in stratospheric ozone

Camp, Charles D. and Roulston, Mark S. and Haldemann, Albert F. C. and Yung, Yuk L. (2001) The sensitivity of tropospheric methane to the interannual variability in stratospheric ozone. Chemosphere: Global Change Science, 3 (2). pp. 147-156. ISSN 0045-6535.

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The dominant processes affecting the concentration of tropospheric methane on interannual timescales are the biospheric and anthropogenic sources and changes in the abundance of the hydroxyl radical caused by the changes in the UV flux which result from changes in stratospheric ozone abundance. We have carried out an empirical study of the sensitivity of the methane to fluctuations in ozone column abundance. This analysis was carried out using monthly mean surface methane concentrations measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (NOAA-CMDL) Global Cooperative Air Sampling Network from 1983 to 1998 and ozone column abundances obtained by the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) and the EP TOMS instruments over the same time period. We focused on interannual variability with periods between 15 and 60 months, in which interval the dominant ozone fluctuation is the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO), with a period of approximately 29 months. In order to isolate the response of methane to ozone from the effects of variability in the sources and transport of methane, we restricted our analysis to data at mid-latitudes in the southern hemisphere. A statistical study shows that the sensitivity factor α≡−d(ln[CH_4])/d(ln[O_3])=−0.038±0.009. The response of CH_4 lags approximately 6 months behind the forcing by O_3. A simple model was used to interpret the empirical results. Our results confirm that any mechanism that affects stratospheric ozone impacts the oxidizing potential of the troposphere. CH_4 fluctuations provide a quantitative measure of this important effect linking the upper and the lower atmosphere.

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Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. Received 25 April 2000. Revised 8 August 2000. Accepted 12 September 2000. Available online 15 March 2001. We thank M. Gerstell, P. Wennberg, J. Randerson, A. Ruzmaikin, A. Gould, J. Wang, R. Salawitch and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments, E.J. Dlugokencky of NOAA-CMDL for the use of CH_4 data from the NOAA-CMDL global flask sampling network, and Rich Stolarski of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for the use of O_3 data from the merged ozone data set. Supported by NASA grants NAG5-7230 and NAG1-1806 to the California Institute of Technology.
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Subject Keywords:Interannual oscillation; QBO; Atmosphere; Stratosphere–troposphere interaction; Insolation
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140826-141758051
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Official Citation:Charles D. Camp, Mark S. Roulston, Albert F.C. Haldemann, Yuk L. Yung, The sensitivity of tropospheric methane to the interannual variability in stratospheric ozone, Chemosphere - Global Change Science, Volume 3, Issue 2, April 2001, Pages 147-156, ISSN 1465-9972, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48938
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 Aug 2014 21:55
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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