Selected Papers

Lovejoy S, Varotsos C. Scaling regimes and linear/nonlinear responses of last millennium climate to volcanic and solar forcings. Earth System Dynamics [Internet]. 2016;7(1):133-150. Publisher's VersionAbstract
At scales much longer than the deterministic predictability limits (about 10 days), the statistics of the atmosphere undergoes a drastic transition, the high-frequency weather acts as a random forcing on the lower-frequency macroweather. In addition, up to decadal and centennial scales the equivalent radiative forcings of solar, volcanic and anthropogenic perturbations are small compared to the mean incoming solar flux. This justifies the common practice of reducing forcings to radiative equivalents (which are assumed to combine linearly), as well as the development of linear stochastic models, including for forecasting at monthly to decadal scales. In order to clarify the validity of the linearity assumption and determine its scale range, we use last millennium simulations, with both the simplified Zebiak–Cane (ZC) model and the NASA GISS E2-R fully coupled GCM. We systematically compare the statistical properties of solar-only, volcanic-only and combined solar and volcanic forcings over the range of timescales from 1 to 1000 years. We also compare the statistics to multiproxy temperature reconstructions. The main findings are (a) that the variability in the ZC and GCM models is too weak at centennial and longer scales; (b) for longer than  ≈  50 years, the solar and volcanic forcings combine subadditively (nonlinearly) compounding the weakness of the response; and (c) the models display another nonlinear effect at shorter timescales: their sensitivities are much higher for weak forcing than for strong forcing (their intermittencies are different) and we quantify this with statistical scaling exponents.
Varotsos C, Kirk-Davidoff D. Long-memory processes in ozone and temperature variations at the region 60 S–60 N. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics [Internet]. 2006;6(12):4093-4100. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Global column ozone and tropospheric temperature observations made by ground-based (1964–2004) and satellite-borne (1978–2004) instrumentation are analyzed. Ozone and temperature fluctuations in small time-intervals are found to be positively correlated to those in larger time-intervals in a power-law fashion. For temperature, the exponent of this dependence is larger in the mid-latitudes than in the tropics at long time scales, while for ozone, the exponent is larger in tropics than in the mid-latitudes. In general, greater persistence could be a result of either stronger positive feedbacks or larger inertia. Therefore, the increased slope of the power distribution of temperature in mid-latitudes at long time scales compared to the slope in the tropics could be connected to the poleward increase in climate sensitivity predicted by the global climate models. The detrended fluctuation analysis of model and observed time series provides a helpful tool for visualizing errors in the treatment of long-range correlations, whose correct modeling would greatly enhance confidence in long-term climate and atmospheric chemistry modeling.
Varotsos C.

The southern hemisphere ozone hole split in 2002

. Environmental Science and Pollution Research [Internet]. 2002;9(6):375-376. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Among the most important aspects of the atmospheric pollution problem are the anthropogenic impacts on the stratospheric ozone layer, the related trends of the total ozone content drop and the solar ultraviolet radiation enhancement at the Earth’s surface level. During September 2002, the ozone hole over the Antarctic was much smaller than in the previous six years. It has split into two separate holes, due to the appearance of sudden stratospheric warming that has never been observed before in the southern hemisphere.The analysis of this unprecedented event is attempted, regarding both the meteorological and photochemical aspects, in terms of the unusual thermal field patterns and the induced polar vortex disturbances.
von der Gaden P, Rex M, Harris NR, Lucic D, Knudsen BM, Braathen G, Varotsos C. Observational evidence for chemical ozone depletion over the Arctic in winter 1991–92. NATURE [Internet]. 1995;375(6527):131. Publisher's VersionAbstract
LONG-TERM depletion of ozone has been observed since the early 1980s in the Antarctic polar vortex, and more recently at mid-latitudes in both hemispheres, with most of the ozone loss occurring in the lower stratosphere1. Insufficient measurements of ozone exist, however, to determine decadal trends in ozone concentration in the Arctic winter. Several studies of ozone concentrations in the Arctic vortex have inferred that chemical ozone loss has occurred2–11; but because natural variations in ozone concentration at any given location can be large, deducing long-term trends from time series is fraught with difficulties. The approaches used previously have often been indirect, typically relying on relationships between ozone and long-lived tracers. Most recently Manney et al.11used such an approach, based on satellite measurements, to conclude that the observed ozone decrease of about 20% in the lower stratosphere in February and March 1993 was caused by chemical, rather than dynamical, processes. Here we report the results of a new approach to calculate chemical ozone destruction rates that allows us to compare ozone concentrations in specific air parcels at different times, thus avoiding the need to make assumptions about ozone/tracer ratios. For the Arctic vortex of the 1991-92 winter we find that, at 20 km altitude, chemical ozone loss occurred only between early January and mid February and that the loss is proportional to the exposure to sunlight. The timing and magnitude are broadly consistent with existing understanding of photochemical ozone-depletion processes.