After nearly three decades of research, the role of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) in stratospheric ozone depletion is generally well established. However, important questions remain unanswered that limit our understanding of PSC processes and how to accurately represent them in global models, calling into question our prognostic capabilities for future ozone loss in a changing climate. A more complete picture of PSC morphology and composition on polar vortex-wide scales is emerging from a suite of recent satellite missions: the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) on Envisat (2002-2012), the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on Aura (2004-present), and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) on CALIPSO (2006-present). These datasets have motivated numerous PSC research activities that both extend and challenge our present knowledge of PSC processes and modeling capabilities. In this project, key questions related to PSC formation and evolution and their representation in global models will be addressed through the following main objectives: identify the key PSC parameters which are required by global models; compare remote and in situ datasets to identify their strengths and limitations; define a methodology to obtain the key PSC properties required by models from the observational datasets; synthesize the new satellite measurements and earlier datasets into a state of the art PSC climatology; and identify remaining open science questions. These activities will ultimately lead to improved representation of PSC processes in global climate models and to the development of a database against which existing and future models may be tested. To achieve these goals, we will bring together an international team of key scientists representing satellite, ground-based, balloon, and aircraft measurements, as well as theoreticians and modelers, in a series of focused meetings to be held at ISSI. The ultimate outcomes will include a journal paper or SPARC (Stratosphere-troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate, a core project of the World Climate Research Program) report describing the new PSC reference climatology and a journal review paper on the overall state of PSC science.
The full proposal of the PSCi team can be found here.