Project of CAWSES (SPP 1176)

The Influence of Solar Radiation Perturbations on the Coupling of Atmospheric Layers

  • Ingo Kirchner, Dr.
  • Institut für Meteorologie der FU Berlin,
  • Berlin
  • Hans-F., Graf, Prof. Dr.
  • Max-Planck Institut für Meteorologie,
  • Hamburg
  • and Cambridge University 
  • Cambridge; UK 


In the 1980-decade a large area of total ozone reduction was observed over Europe during January, with values twice as large in its centre as that of the zonally symmetric trend. We showed that large-scale transport changes due to planetary waves are primarily responsible for that, as well as for changes during other winter months. The influence of such changes on the large-scale dynamics of the middle atmosphere is unknown. Hence, in the frame of the project we carry out a systematic investigation to improve our understanding of the feedback processes between zonally asymmetric solar radiative changes and dynamics. The following scientific questions results: (1) What is the structure of the decadal zonally asymmetric ozone changes and trend of the 1960-2000-period, and what processes have caused the structure changes in the middle atmosphere of the extra-tropics?

(2) How do the zonally asymmetric ozone changes or trend during the 1960-2000-period influence the radiative and dynamical coupling of atmospheric layers?

(3) Which direct effect have the solar forcing changes induced by these decadal zonally asymmetric ozone changes (including variability of solar activity) on the dynamics of the middle atmosphere or are feedback processes more important?

Time: 6 years

Scientists: Dr. Axel Gabriel, Dr. Alexey Karpechko (MFI Finnland)

Publications of our group related to ozone changes:

Peters, D., J. Egger, and G. Entzian, Dynamical aspects of ozon-mini-hole formation, Meteorol. Atmos. Phys., 55, 205-214, 1995.

Peters, D., and G. Entzian, January ozone anomaly over the North Atlantic-European region: Longitude-dependent decadal change in the total ozone during 1979- 1992, Meteorol. Z., N. F. 5, 41-44, 1996.

Peters, D., G. Entzian, and G. Schmitz, Ozone anomalies over the North Atlantic-European region during January 1979-1992 - linear modelling of horizontal and vertical ozone transport by ultra-long waves, Beitr. Phys. Atmosph., 69, 477-489, 1996.

James, P.M., D. Peters, and K.M. Greisiger, A study of ozone minihole formation using a tracer advection model driven by barotropic dynamics , Meteorol. Atmos. Phys., 64, No 1-2, 107-121, 1997. 

Entzian, G., and D. Peters, Ozone content of air parcels from different directions compared with measured ozone profiles XVIII. Quadrennial Ozone Symposium ´96, L'Aquila, Italien, Sept. 1996, Proc. of XVIII. Quadrennial Ozone Symposium ´96, per reviewed, edited by R. Bojkov and G. Visconti, Vol. 1, 123-126, 1998.

Greisiger, K.M., D. Peters, G. Entzian, and C.-O. Hinrichs, On the horizontal and vertical structure of the zonally asymmetric intraseasonal and interannual ozone

Peters, D., and G. Entzian, Longitude-dependent decadal changes of total ozone in boreal winter months during 1979-1992, J. Climate, 12, 1038-1048, 1999.

Entzian, G., and D. Peters, Very low zonally asymmetric ozone values in March 1997 above the North Atlantic-European region, induced by dynamic processes, Annales Geophysicae, 17, 933-940, 1999.

James, P., D. Peters, and D. W. Waugh, Very low ozone episodes due to polar vortex displacement, Tellus, 2000, 52B,1123-1137.

Schmitz, G., D. Peters, and G. Entzian, Tropopause pressure change in January during 1979-1992, Meteorol. Z., 9 , 255-261, 2000.

Gabriel, A, and G., Schmitz, Dynamical components of northern hemispheric zonal mean total ozone changes during 1979-93, GRL, 29, No.14, 2002.

Gabriel, A, and G., Schmitz , The influence of large-scale eddy fluy variability on the zonal mean ozone distribution, JClim, 16, 2615-2627, 2003.

James, P.M., D. Peters, The Lagrangian Structure of Ozone Mini-Holes and Potential Vorticity Anomalies, Annales Geophysicae, 20, 835-846, 2002.

Kirchner, I., D. Peters,  Modelling the wintertime response to upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric ozone anomalies over the North Atlantic and Europe,  Annales Geophysicae, 21, 2107-2118, 2003, also published as report No. 339 of the Max-Planck-Institute of Meteorology (Hamburg;

Entzian, G., D. Peters, The seasonal cycle of the influence of large-scale waves on the longitude dependent total ozone in the northern hemisphere, J. Meteorol. Soc. Japan, 82, No. 3,933-9440, 2004.

Peters, D., P. Vargin, and H. Körnich, A study of the zonally asymmetric tropospheric forcing of the austral vortex splitting during September 2002, Tellus A, 59 (3), 384-394. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0870.2007.00228x, 2007.

Gabriel, A., D. Peters, Kirchner, and H.-F. Graf, The effect of zonally asymmetric stratospheric ozone on large-scale dynamics and planetary wave propagation in the tropo-, strato- and mesosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06807, doi:10.1029/2006GL028998, 2007.

Peters, D., A. Gabriel and G. Entzian, Longitude - dependent decadal ozone changes and ozone trends in boreal winter months during 1960-2000, Ann Geophys., 2007, accepted.


Longitude – dependent decadal ozone changes and ozone trends in boreal winter months during 1960-2000


Dieter H.W. Peters, Axel Gabriel and Günter Entzian


  • Leibniz - Institute for Atmospheric Physicsat the University of Rostock
  • Kühlungsborn, Mecklenburg
  • Germany                                                          

                         Submitted to Annales Geophysicae            

18 December 2006

Accepted 15.10.2007


Contribution to proceedings of LTT workshop

 at Sodankyla, September 2006



Keywords: zonally asymmetric total ozone, decadal changes and trends, dynamical transport   


This study examines the longitude-dependent decadal changes and trends of ozone for boreal winter months during the period of 1960-2000. These changes are caused primarily by changes in the planetary wave structure in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. The decadal changes and trends over 4 decades of geopotential perturbations defined as deviation from zonal mean are estimated by linear regression with time. The decadal changes of longitude-dependent ozone were calculated with a simple transport model of ozone based on the known planetary wave structure changes and prescribed zonal mean ozone gradients.

For December of the 1960`s and 1980`s a statistically significant Rossby wave track appeared over the North Atlantic and Europe with an anticyclonic disturbance over the Eastern North Atlantic and Western Europe flanked by cyclonic disturbances. In the 1970`s and 1990`s statistically significant cyclonic disturbances appeared over the Eastern North Atlantic and Europe surrounded by anticyclonic anomalies over Northern Africa, Central Asia and Greenland. Similar patterns have been found for January. The Rossby wave track over the North Atlantic and Europe is stronger in the 1980`s than in the 1960`s. For February, the variability of the regression patterns is higher. For January we found a strong alteration in the modelled decadal changes of total ozone over Central and Northern Europe showing a decrease of about 15 DU in the 1960`s and 1980`s and an increase of about 10 DU in the 1970`s and 1990`s.



Fig. Model results of mean decadal change of total ozone (DU) for the 1960`s (a), 1970`s (b), 1980`s (c) and 1990`s (d) calculated with differences of 5 year averages (end minus beginning of the decade) of geopotential heights for January.

The effect of zonally asymmetric stratospheric ozone on large-scale dynamics and wave propagation characteristics in the tropo-, strato- and mesosphere


Axel Gabriel, Dieter Peters, Ingo Kirchner and Hans-F. Graf


 1) Leibniz-Institut für Atmosphärenphysik der Universität Rostock e.V.

 2) Meteorologisches Institut, Freie Universität Berlin

 3) Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge 

Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06807, doi:10.1029/2006GL028998, 2007.


For the northern winter hemisphere, decadal means of the zonally asymmetric ozone components are derived from ECMWF Reanalysis (ERA-40) and included in the GCM MAECHAM5 to investigate their effects on temperature and planetary wave propagation characteristics in the tropo-, strato- and lower mesosphere. The analyzed stratospheric ozone of ERA-40 shows a strong increase in wave 1 structure during the last decades, with amplitudes of about 10% of the zonal mean ozone during the 1990ies. Based on a set of model calculations, we found that the related radiation perturbations induce significant changes in temperature increasing with height (we found maximum changes of about -4 K in the lower stratosphere and -8 K in the lower mesosphere) due to an induced increase in amplitude and shift in phase of the stratospheric wave 1, i.e. an enhancement and shift of the polar vortex. Further, the accompanying changes in three-dimensional wave activity flux vector reveal that regions of strong vertically propagating wave trains become much weaker over the Asian / North Pacific region and much stronger over the North America / North Atlantic region. We conclude that the decadal change in zonally asymmetric ozone may have contributed largely to observed temperature trends in the stratosphere and lower mesosphere via efficiently altering the balance between large-scale dynamics and planetary wave propagation.


Privatdozent Dr. habil. Dieter H.W. Peters

Tel. : +49 (0) 38293 68 380
Fax : +49 (0) 38293 68 50

Climate And Weather of the Sun-Earth System

Composite picture created at NOAA-NGDC by Dr. Peter Sloss from SKYLAB solar X-ray telescope picture by Naval Research Laboratory and bathymetry and topography databases archived at NGDC.