Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : This study aims to understand the spatial and temporal variability of HNO3 total columns in terms of explanatory variables. To achieve this, multiple linear regressions are used to fit satellite-derived time series of HNO3 daily averaged total columns. First, an analysis of the IASI 9-year time series (2008-2016) is conducted based on various equivalent latitude bands. The strong and systematic denitrification of the southern polar stratosphere is observed very clearly. It is also possible to distinguish, within the polar vortex, three regions which are differently affected by the denitrification. Three exceptional denitrification episodes in 2011, 2014 and 2016 are also observed in the Northern Hemisphere, due to unusually low arctic temperatures. The time series are then fitted by multivariate regressions to identify what variables are responsible for HNO3 variability in global distributions and time series, and to quantify their respective influence. Out of an ensemble of proxies (annual cycle, solar flux, quasi-biennial oscillation, multivariate ENSO index, Arctic and Antarctic oscillations and volume of polar stratospheric clouds), only the those defined as significant (p value<0.05) by a selection algorithm are retained for each equivalent latitude band. Overall, the regression gives a good representation of HNO3 variability, with especially good results at high latitudes (60-80% of the observed variability explained by the model). The regressions show the dominance of annual variability in all latitudinal bands, which is related to specific chemistry and dynamics depending on the latitudes. We find that the polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) also have a major influence in the polar regions, and that their inclusion in the model improves the correlation coefficients and the residuals. However, there is still a relatively large portion of HNO3 variability that remains unexplained by the model, especially in the intertropical regions, where factors not included in the regression model (such as vegetation fires or lightning) may be at play.