Nav: Home

Plugging the ozone hole has indirectly helped Antarctic sea ice to increase

September 29, 2019

Observational records show that stratospheric ozone declined prior to the late 1990s, and an abrupt 50% reduction in the Antarctic stratospheric ozone layer occurred during September to November each year, the result of which is commonly known as the 'ozone hole'. Since then, stratospheric ozone started to stabilize, and has even slowly increased in the early part of the 21st century, especially in the polar regions.

Sea ice in the polar regions plays an important role in the global climate system. Change in sea ice results in a large variation in albedo over the sea surface, which leads to change in the absorption of solar radiation and the sea surface temperature. But how does the ozone layer, which is located in the stratosphere, influence Antarctic sea ice? This is a hot topic in the field of atmospheric science.

Recent studies demonstrate that the Antarctic ozone hole has important influences on Antarctic sea ice. For instance, ozone-induced changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulations significantly alter the transport of ocean heat and the dynamics of sea ice, consequently impacting upon sea surface temperatures and the Antarctic sea ice. Prof. Yongyun Hu and his team--a group of researchers from the Laboratory for Climate and Atmosphere-Ocean Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics at Peking University--have found that stratospheric ozone-induced indirect radiative effects also play important roles in causing changes in Antarctic sea ice, and their work has been accepted into the evolving special issue of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on Antarctic Meteorology and Climate: Past, Present and Future.

By using a climate model, Prof. Yongyun Hu and his team designed a series of sensitivity experiments and found that ozone recovery leads to an increase in Antarctic sea ice.

"In this study, the atmospheric GCM was coupled only with a slab ocean to distinguish ozone-induced cloud radiative effects on sea ice, in which ocean heat transports and dynamic sea ice were excluded," says the corresponding author of the study, Prof. Hu. "Thus, the change in Antarctic sea ice is the product of radiation and heat processes. It is the indirect radiative effect of the stratospheric ozone change instead of its direct radiative effect that causes the changes in the sea surface temperature and sea ice. The indirect radiative effect comes from the change in clouds."

Their research demonstrates that the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole absorbs more solar radiation and heats the lower stratosphere over the Southern Hemisphere high latitudes, which causes increases in the static stability in the upper troposphere and decreases in cloud cover over the Southern Hemisphere high latitudes. The reduced cloud cover leads to an increase in outgoing longwave radiation and a reduction in downward infrared radiation, especially in austral autumn. This results in cooling of the Southern Ocean surface and increasing Antarctic sea ice. Surface cooling also involves ice-albedo feedback. Increasing sea ice reflects solar radiation and causes further cooling and more increases in Antarctic sea ice.
-end-
The special issue on Antarctic Meteorology and Climate: Past, Present and Future, scheduled to be officially released in the spring of 2020 at Springer website of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, will highlight recent research progress, including the ongoing effort of the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP), in 1) Antarctic meteorology and numerical weather prediction and 2) climate variability and change in the Antarctic.

Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Related Sea Ice Articles:

Earth's glacial cycles enhanced by Antarctic sea-ice
A 784,000 year climate simulation suggests that Southern Ocean sea ice significantly reduces deep ocean ventilation to the atmosphere during glacial periods by reducing both atmospheric exposure of surface waters and vertical mixing of deep ocean waters; in a global carbon cycle model, these effects led to a 40 ppm reduction in atmospheric CO2 during glacial periods relative to pre-industrial level, suggesting how sea ice can drive carbon sequestration early within a glacial cycle.
Arctic sea ice can't 'bounce back'
Arctic sea ice cannot 'quickly bounce back' if climate change causes it to melt, new research suggests.
Cracks in Arctic sea ice turn low clouds on and off
The prevailing view has been that more leads are associated with more low-level clouds during winter.
Evidence: Antarctica's thinning ice shelves causing more ice to move from land into sea
New study provides the first evidence that thinning ice shelves around Antarctica are causing more ice to move from the land into the sea.
Low sea-ice cover in the Arctic
The sea-ice extent in the Arctic is nearing its annual minimum at the end of the melt season in September.
Study shows algae thrive under Greenland sea ice
Microscopic marine plants flourish beneath the ice that covers the Greenland Sea, according to a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.
ICESat-2 reveals profile of ice sheets, sea ice, forests
With each pass of the ICESat-2 satellite, the mission is adding to datasets tracking Earth's rapidly changing ice.
Arctic cyclone limits the time-scale of precise sea-ice prediction in Northern Sea Route?
Climate change has accelerated sea-ice retreat in the Arctic Ocean, leading to new opportunities for summer commercial maritime navigation along the Northern Sea Route.
Ocean waves following sea ice loss trigger Antarctic ice shelf collapse
Storm-driven ocean swells have triggered the catastrophic disintegration of Antarctic ice shelves in recent decades, according to new research published in Nature today.
New technique more accurately reflects ponds on Arctic sea ice
This one simple mathematical trick can accurately predict the shape and melting effects of ponds on Arctic sea ice, according to new research by UChicago scientists.
More Sea Ice News and Sea Ice Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.