Model evolution of the middle atmospheric palaeoenvironments
Keywords:Ozone, Last ice age, Mounder maximum, Stratosphere, Hydroxyl content, Greenhouse gases
Ice core air analysis has indicated a significant variation in the atmospheric contents of the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4 and N2O from the last ice age to the present period. This may have contributed in altering the vertical distribution of temperature and composition of the atmosphere about which not much information is available. The two dimensional interactive model of radiation, dynamics and chemistry has been used to reconstruct the annual vertical distribution of thermal structure and trace gas concentrations of the middle atmosphere for the periods extending from last ice age to the present. For this purpose, ice core air data of the above mentioned forcing parameters are used as input to the model for different time frames including Mounder Maximum, Roman maximum, pre-industrial period and the last glacial period. Model results show that the considerable reduction in the greenhouse gas content for the last ice age has resulted in colling of troposphere and a warming by about 10 to 15° K in the upper stratosphere as compared to present. The variation in temperature is closely related with the water vapour content. The percentage change in ozone concentration for the last glacial period is to a miximum of 50% near the poles in the upper stratosphere and about 10% in the tropics. A significant decrease in the hydroxyl content in the last ice age must have contributed in increasing the ozone content above 30 km. however, the total integrated ozone content appears to show marginal variations from last ice age to the present due to several counter-balancing effects.
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