Satellite image of the Earth.

Stratospheric processes

The stratosphere extends from a height of around 10-16 km to around 50 km above the Earth's surface. It contains the ozone layer, important for absorbing harmful solar UV radiation before it arrives at Earth's surface. The evolution of stratospheric chemistry, dynamics, and radiation under climate change couple to the troposphere, and can have a significant impact on some aspects of surface weather and climate.

Key aims

  • To understand those stratospheric processes that affect stratospheric ozone and surface climate change and variability, and to improve their representation in the Unified Model.
  • To project ozone recovery and its future behaviour, resulting from the reduction of ozone depleting substances and the effects of climate change.
  • To provide advice to Defra and DECC on stratospheric issues.

Current projects

  • Simulate future climate using a model with a well resolve stratosphere for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5, in collaboration with NCAS-Climate, and contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report.
  • Prediction of 21st century stratospheric ozone recovery and climate using the UKCA composition model, for the SPARC Chemistry-Climate Model Validation Activity and supporting the WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessments of Ozone Depletion.
  • Contribute to the European project COMBINE for including new components in Earth system models.
  • Inclusion of stratospheric chemistry into the Hadley Centre Earth system model through the UKCA atmospheric chemistry-aerosol model. 
  • Evaluating and improving the stratospheric climate and variability in the Met Office Hadley Centre Earth system model (as part of MORPH3).
  • Research into the dependence of the mean climate, climate variability, and climate change on stratospheric dynamics as part of the SPARC DynVar Activity.
  • Adding an online trajectory code to investigate the transport characteristics of the Unified Model.