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Mathematical analysis of the stratospheric photochemical system


Brasseur,  Guy P.
The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Yang, P. C., & Brasseur, G. P. (2004). Mathematical analysis of the stratospheric photochemical system. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 109(D15): D15308. doi:10.1029/2003JD004028.

The impact of odd chlorine (Cly) and odd nitrogen (NOy) perturbations (resulting from human activities) and of enhanced H2O-H2SO4 aerosol load (associated with volcanic activity) on stratospheric ozone (25 km altitude, midlatitudes) is assessed by using a chemical box model in which key heterogeneous reactions on the surface of sulfate aerosol particles are taken into account. The model shows that if transport is ignored, the response of the photochemical system to increased abundances of odd chlorine and odd nitrogen and to enhanced aerosol surface area density is characterized by a multiequilibrium regime. Catastrophic transitions may occur and may produce dramatic reductions in the stratospheric ozone concentration. When the dissipative effects associated with transport are taken into account, the system still exhibits a nonlinear response to external nitrogen and chlorine sources but without multiequilibrium solutions or catastrophic transitions. Over a sensitive interval, small external disturbances applied to model parameters can lead to large changes in the state of the system. For example, the large drop in ozone derived by the model when dissipative transport effects are taken into account corresponds to a degeneracy of the multiequilibrium regime found when dissipative terms are omitted.