EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Updated PSC climatology based on CALIOP measurements from 2006-2023

Michael Pitts1 and Lamont Poole2
Michael Pitts and Lamont Poole
  • 1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, United States of America (
  • 2Space Systems, LLC Hampton, Virginia, United States of America (

After more than three decades of research, the roles of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) in stratospheric ozone depletion are well established. Heterogeneous reactions on PSCs convert the stable chlorine reservoirs HCl and ClONO2 to chlorine radicals that destroy ozone catalytically.  PSCs also prolong ozone depletion by delaying chlorine deactivation through the removal of gas-phase HNO3 and H2O by sedimentation of large nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) and ice particles. A substantial recovery of the ozone layer is expected by the middle of this century with reduced global production of ozone depleting substances in accordance with the Montreal Protocol and subsequent amendments.  But as climate changes, leading to a colder and perhaps wetter stratosphere and upper troposphere, reliable model predictions of recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole and of potentially more severe ozone depletion in the Arctic are challenging.  This is due both to a lack of detailed understanding of the underlying physics and the fact that many global models use simple parameterizations that do not accurately represent PSC processes.

A more complete picture of PSC processes on vortex-wide scales has emerged from the CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) instrument on the CALIPSO satellite that has been observing PSCs at latitudes up to 82 degrees in both hemispheres since June 2006.  The CALIOP Version 2.0 (v2) PSC algorithm was recently developed to address known deficiencies in previous algorithms and includes additional refinements to increase the robustness of the inferred PSC composition. In this paper, we present an updated PSC reference data record and comprehensive climatology constructed by applying the v2 algorithm to the more than 17-year CALIOP spaceborne lidar dataset.  In addition, we will examine the potential impact of aerosol and water vapor injections into the stratosphere from the January 2022 Hunga Tonga eruption on PSC occurrence in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. 

How to cite: Pitts, M. and Poole, L.: Updated PSC climatology based on CALIOP measurements from 2006-2023, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3669,, 2023.