This study examined the variability of near-surface (850 hPa) ozone during summer in East Asia using simulations from 12 models participating in the Chemistry–Climate Model Initiative (CCMI). The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of non-detrended ozone shows that the first (second) EOF mode is characterized by a monopole (dipole) structure that describe 83.3% (7.1%) of total variance. The corresponding the first principle component (PC1) time series exhibits a gradually increasing trend due to the rising anthropogenic emission, whereas PC2 shows interannual variation. To understand the drivers of this interannual variability, the detrended ozone is also analyzed. The two leading EOF patterns of detrended ozone, EOF1 and EOF2, explain 37.0% and 29.2% of the total variance, respectively. The regression results indicate that the positive ozone anomaly in East Asia associated with EOF1 is caused by the combination of net ozone production and transport from the upper atmosphere. In contrast, EOF2 is associated with the weakened western Pacific subtropical high during the La Niña decaying summer, which tends to decrease monsoon precipitation, thus increasing ozone concentration in China. Our results suggest that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) plays a key role in driving interannual variability in tropospheric ozone in East Asia.
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