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On the link between the Etesian winds, tropopause folds and tropospheric ozone over the Eastern Mediterranean during summer

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Pozzer,  Andrea
Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Dafka, S., Akritidis, D., Zanis, P., Pozzer, A., Xoplaki, E., Luterbacher, J., et al. (2021). On the link between the Etesian winds, tropopause folds and tropospheric ozone over the Eastern Mediterranean during summer. Atmospheric Research, 248: 105161. doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105161.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-9FA0-1
Abstract
The summertime Eastern Mediterranean experiences among the highest worldwide near-surface ozone values often exceeding the EU air-quality standard for human health protection. Downward transport of stratospheric ozone-rich air masses through tropopause folds has been shown to significantly contribute to these high tropospheric ozone levels. The summer circulation over the Eastern Mediterranean is dominated by large-scale subsidence and persistent northerly winds, the Etesians, as well as tropopause fold activity affecting tropospheric ozone levels and variability. This is the first study that directly investigates the connections of the Etesians with tropopause folds and tropospheric ozone over the Eastern Mediterranean region using the state-of-the-art ECHAM5/MESSy Atmospheric Chemistry (EMAC) climate model and a tropopause fold identification algorithm for the period June‐August 1979 to 2013. Model validation against reanalysis and observational measurements indicates that EMAC simulates well the sea level pressure gradient over the Aegean Sea reproducing the occurrence frequency of the Etesians. The shared variance between the simulated and the observed year-to-year frequency of the Etesian winds is higher than 80%. The year-to-year variability of summertime tropopause folds frequency is significantly correlated with the Etesian winds with a correlation coefficient close to 0.7. In addition, a significant increase of the fold activity and the ozone concentrations are observed during intense Etesians. Our findings may have implications for air quality studies and could support human health policy, as the Etesians coincide with favorable conditions for the formation of tropopause folds and stratosphere-to-troposphere transport and therefore, with enhanced ozone levels over the Eastern Mediterranean.